A new national service has been launched to provide support for people with challenging mental health conditions who have been discharged from hospital.
The Gray Healthcare service provides sustained support for people who may or may not have been sectioned under the Mental Health Act but who have a history of admission, medication and treatment, discharge and re-admission.
The move has been welcomed by clinicians and patient advocates, who say that health service outreach teams are desperately overstretched and therefore can not provide the intensive treatment and rehabilitation support that many patients need.
Dr Christopher Findlay, a leading community psychiatrist working in Runcorn, said: ‘There are limits to what Community Mental Health Teams can provide. There are also limited in-patient beds.
‘Any service that offers to work alongside established NHS services to provide intensive, safe alternatives to in-patient care is to be welcomed, particularly those that are individually tailored and committed to improved outcomes and the safe social inclusion of patients with mental health difficulties.’
It is hoped the service will allow patients to continue to move back into the community rather than remaining confined in secure facilities unnecessarily.