MP’s campaign lands big win as plans to withdraw overnight mental health workers are scrapped
Controversial plans to withdraw overnight mental health psychiatrists in Cumbria have been scrapped, following a campaign from local MP Tim Farron.
Plans from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust leaked to the MP by a whistleblower, showed that from this Tuesday, mental health consultant psychiatrists would not be called out to respond to Mental Health Act assessments between the hours of 8pm and 9am for people outside of their own homes - such as A+E, care homes, or police stations.
But after the South Lakes MP submitted a motion in Parliament condemning the proposals and raising the issue with the Health Secretary last week, the Trust have now announced that the plans will no longer go ahead.
Instead, they will seek to employ two new doctors to ensure that psychiatric cover continues to be provided 24/7.
In a letter written to mental health workers in the county, the Trust's Medical Director Andrew Brittlebank said: "We have today, requested that the consultants continue with the current arrangements until robust plans can be developed. The provision of taxi/car and driver for Consultants on call will continue as will the on-going complete support and encouragement for Doctors to use their compensatory rest after on call in line with Working Time Requirements."
Tim said: "I'm absolutely delighted that the Trust have decided not to go ahead with plans to withdraw overnight mental health workers.
"I understand there are huge problems with recruiting local mental health workers, but these measures would've only added to the Trust's problems.
"Taking on two new doctors will hopefully take the pressure off and allow 24/7 psychiatric cover for the most vulnerable of people.
"The plans to ends 24 hour care would've had a devastating effect on the people of Cumbria and increased pressure on mental health workers who are already overstretched.
"I am hugely grateful to those clinicians who bravely shared these plans with me so that I could act to stop them happening. I'm also grateful to all those local people, including patients and their families who got in touch to support our campaign, we couldn't have done it without you.
"I look forward to working with the Trust to help them fund and recruit new doctors to help them in any way that I can to reach a much better solution for everyone."