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Focus on acutes has left mental health facing ‘significant uncertainties’ say trust leaders

A large mental health trust has highlighted a lack of additional funding for the sector, in contrast to the £8bn earmarked for acute providers to tackle elective waiting lists.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust expects demand for its services to be 20% higher than pre-covid levels, but says uncertainties around funding could “impede” progress and “wider service sustainability”.

In an interview with HSJ last week, TEWV’s chief executive Brent Kilmurray said: “Quite often, we are facing the challenge of trying to find beds and meet demand. What we’ve seen is an increase in occupancy and an increase in length of stay. And we are relating that to an increase in acuity.

“We really welcome the investment that goes into the long-term plans on the specialist services that are coming through. [But] what we want to do with our work is give greater transparency to the backlogs that have developed and some of the additional pressures.

Asked about the trust’s actions to address multiple concerns around safety and quality, Mr Kilmurray said staffing had improved in forensics, although the vacancy rate is still higher than the trust average, and that a leadership development programme is aiming to improve the culture of the organisation. He said he hopes the CQC “would see significant improvement” when they are inspected again.

He added that “a lot has changed” since the high-profile deaths of two teenagers under the care of the trust, which are subject to an ongoing inquiry

He said: “We will be able to build on the legacy of those young women in terms of the learning that we want to embed within the organisation.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 16 December 2022


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