MENTAL health care in Redditch is in crisis – that’s the verdict of former community support worker Mike Lewington.
Mike, who volunteers for the Mental Health Action Group Redditch, says since the closure of the Orchard Place centre and the removal of nursing and community staff to Bromsgrove, care in the borough has suffered.
“Rather than simply discharge patients I would have a caseload of people whom I would go out and visit on a regular basis and we would continue to support them,” said the former support worker who was attached to the community psychiatric team.
“Now we have a revolving door syndrome. People are unwell, are treated, discharged and then have to come back in again.
“I wouldn’t criticise the staff as they are doing a magnificent job in difficult circumstances. This is the result of services being removed from Redditch.”
With the closure of Orchard Place, in the town centre, patients now have to attend Hill Crest on the Alexandra Hospital site.
“Some patients dread going there as it was once used for electro convulsive therapy and brings back bad memories for some,” said Mike.
“One of the problems is that people with mental health issues by their very nature do not protest because they want to remain anonymous, which is where MHAG comes in.
“We know we are not going to get these services back and what MHAG tries to do is fill in and see people on a voluntary basis or find funding from other organisations to help.”
It is estimated one in four people will at some time in their life suffer a mental health problem, whether it be minor or major.
“Granted people are not all going to suffer an issue at the same time, but in a town the size of Redditch with a population of more than 80,000, that’s 20,000 people we’re talking about,” said Mike.
A spokesman for Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said: “Mental health services in Redditch are not in crisis.
“Our local communities should be reassured all our mental health services for adults, including in Redditch, were independently inspected earlier this year by the Care Quality Commission and rated Good overall.
“All of our community teams need a base and it is right that many in Redditch and Bromsgrove are now based at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital.
“There are real benefits to staff in being based in the same building with other teams who they work closely with. However we have retained a ‘touch point’ for our Redditch teams in the Hill Crest building.
“Community nurses who support people in Redditch continue to spend the majority of their working day in the local community with their patients.”
MHAG can be contacted at [email protected]