A lack of mental health provision in Angus has been highlighted as NHS Tayside has again been ordered to take action.
An inspection of services in Tayside, found a number of failings, including a lack of services in Angus, following the closure of the dedicated unit at Stracathro Hospital.
A Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland report published on Wednesday centred on the Mulberry Ward at Carseview Centre in Dundee in April and made a number of key recommendations.
It comes after the dedicated Angus unit, also named Mulberry, was mothballed. It was due to be replaced by a seven-day home treatment service, but this has never materialised.
Introducing this service was one of the recommendations made by the commission.
Inspectors found patients remaining in care for longer than necessary because of the lack of a fully-functioning crisis resolution and home treatment team (CRHTT).
“If the CRHTT service in Angus was fully operational, these patients could be discharged promptly with the relevant support,” said the report.
The criticism is a recurring one that has also been highlighted in a number of reports, including following that of the independent inquiry into mental health services, published last year.
A Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) report found in July 2020 an “inequity of service provision across the three partnership areas in Tayside, and particularly about the inequality and the provision of crisis home visit services”.
The report said that Angus lacked a seven-day home treatment team, and that the issue had first been highlighted in 2017.
The latest report also called for a firm indication on when refurbishment plans at the Mulberry Ward at Carseview would be implemented and how patient access to garden areas could be improved.
Meanwhile, plans to have dedicated clinical psychology input in the ward, as well as developing a range of psychological therapies to be delivered by nursing staff, were also among the recommendations.
Praise for staff
Despite the recommendations, it wasn’t all bad news for Tayside heath bosses with inspectors also indicating a number of positives.
Among them was praise for the availability of staff to meet patients needs, even at the busiest times, and how patients felt their views were being taken into account.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Claire Pearce, director of nursing and midwifery at NHS Tayside, said she was “very pleased” that the findings of the visit were “on the whole positive”.
She added: “It is very encouraging that the commission consistently heard feedback from patients that staff were there for them when needed.
“Patients also talked of the importance of having a named nurse and how they take the time to discuss their individual care plans.
“The report also stated that these care plans were clear and contained detailed person centred information.”
Action being taken
Furthermore, she added: “The commission provided four recommendations for Mulberry Ward which our teams are already working to address.
“The Angus Health and Social Care Partnership established a seven-day community mental health service in north Angus in April 2021, with a seven-day service for south Angus to follow by September 2021.
“Work is progressing to develop a range of psychological therapies and the Dundee Health Social Care Partnership has recently approved a dedicated adult inpatient service psychology resource, comprising of applied psychologists and an assistant psychologist.”
She also added that “significant progress” has been made in respect to refurbishment.
“Work has already started to enhance bedrooms and communal areas, ” she added.
“Access to outdoor areas and gardens have also been improved to enhance patient safety and wellbeing.”