A Wirral NHS trust is planning to spend £12m on a new urgent mental health centre.
The plans by the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership Trust were revealed in a Wirral Place Based Partnership Board meeting as members discussed whether to move forward with the plans. The project is planned to cost £11.9m according to a report and would likely be built at Arrowe Park Hospital.
The new centre would mean several urgent care teams in the Cheshire and Wirral partnership would move to the site and is “central to the development of a first response approach to delivering an urgent care mental health response for people in crisis who do not require Emergency Department (ED) attendance.”
It will also contain a facility called a Section 136 service for those detained under the Mental Health Act to keep them safe.
It is hoped this will also reduce pressure on local emergency departments and “create a centralised point within Wirral footprint for all urgent mental health work requests.” The new centre is part of a wider strategy to ensure “support and help is easily accessible for all Wirral residents.”
Health officials said current services were facing unprecedented numbers in hospitals ahead of the winter. Susanne Edwards from NHS Cheshire and Merseyside said hospitals were seeing increased numbers of people in the emergency department, more people staying a lot longer in hospital, and people who had never used services before.
She said it was about bringing services “under one roof, so that when somebody is in distress, we can provide the right response at the right time at the right place.”
Dr Abel Adegoke said, “This is music to my ears. I am so happy about it because it’s something that I dread every day that I don’t want to have a mental health problem because there is no good service in a crisis.”
Graham Hodkinson from Wirral Council said the current Section 136 service was “a very poor service,” adding: “For me, this is absolutely a step in the right direction.”
Jo Chwalko from the Wirral Community Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust said the new centre would also be an investment in the community. adding, “Having seen the provision, you would not want anybody having that experience being in that environment.”
The option to build a brand new centre at Arrowe Park is expected to have a benefit cost ratio of 11.40 which means that for every pound put it, wider benefits are nearly 12 times that. Funding for the project has not been identified yet.