In News by Bembridge PC

Community mental health day services are being redesigned to make them more accessible and responsive to people’s needs.

The current provision provided by the Isle of Wight Council is an out-dated model and not aligned with the Isle of Wight Mental Health Blueprint which maps out a more progressive and proactive approach with a focus on shorter-term interventions.

The move to a more community-based, outreach model of support means it is likely the council’s mental health day centres will close in their current form.

Dr Carol Tozer, the council’s director of adult social care, explained: “We need to focus on a more person-centred approach which promotes wellbeing and recovery.

“Before any changes in provision are made, every person attending the current services is being reviewed so we can be clear we are continuing to meet all eligible needs and, where we do not have a statutory duty, that we are actively supporting those people to access alternative support.”

Currently, 85 people use the service and we will complete the reviews by the end of June.

However, we already know that 11 people attending the centres are already funded by the council to live in residential care.

Equally, we already know the great majority of users do so for a few sessions only each week.

We also know that 34 of the 85 people are elderly and so we are also concerned to ensure they gain access to more age-appropriate provision.

Proposals for the future of community mental health day services on the Island were first published in October last year, as part of the 2019/20 budget consultation.

At the time, the council had to identify £5.5 million worth of savings to set a balanced, and therefore legal, budget. This included £2.07m worth of savings in adult social care.

Full Council agreed in February to reduce the budget for community mental health day services by 75 per cent — around £148,000.

Dr Tozer added: “We must prioritise our spending within adult social care to the most vulnerable.

“Local councils, including the Isle of Wight, need a secure and sustainable funding base for adult social care.

“Here on the Island, a far greater proportion of residents is elderly than is the case nationally — equally, we have increasing numbers of disabled adults, including people with mental health needs, who need support.

“Over the previous two years, we have managed to protect our expenditure on mental health services despite significant savings required that has not been possible for a third year.”