Fifteen new mental health workers to be recruited as ‘crisis’ looms for service in Bury

By Chris Gee

Fifteen new mental health professionals are to be recruited in Bury in a bid to avert ‘significant patient risk’ as waiting lists grow and demand increases.

Health chiefs in Bury heard this week that unless there was investment as the borough emerges from the pandemic there was a risk that mental health services for children and adults would become ‘non-operational’ and the service could reach ‘crisis’.

At a meeting of Bury’s Strategic Health Board on Monday, September 6, members were presented with a report from Will Blandamer, executive director of strategic commissioning on the need for investment in community mental health services.

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Mr Blandamer, said: “This relates to the service pressures and impact of Covid on emotional health and wellbeing and mental health for our Bury population.

“It initialises a step change in how we will move to redesign our mental health adults and children and young people pathways moving forward as we build back better from Covid.”

The three year plan details an ‘enhanced staffing options proposal’ to allow the recruitment of six mental health practitioner posts in the remainder of the 2021/22 year.

An additional nine staff would need to recruited in the year after that to make the service safe.

Mr Blandamer added that there was also a need to recognise the expansion of the service with the redesign of mental health services.

Once fully recruited, the cost of the extra staff per is calculated at £663,000 in 2022/23 and £764,000 per year after that.

Mr Blandamer asked the board members to be aware of the risks to the service if the investment was not agreed.

He said: “If staffing is not increased there is a significant risk of a number of patients being on the waiting list without an allocated care coordinator.

“There is a risk of patient conditions deteriorating and reaching crisis with a potential to have an impact on other services and the wider system.

“Staff well-being is a concern as managers may see staff requesting a reduction in working hours due to the pressure and demand of the
work which may impact on staff moral and staff resilience.

“There is a possible risk for the service to become non-operational and a risk of adverse publicity and regulatory scrutiny if the service does not mitigate emerging pressures.”

The board approved the plans at the meeting.

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