Mental Health

The last Mental Health sub-cell meeting was held on 12th January 2021 and chaired by Sheena Cumiskey, Chief Executive Officer for the Cheshire and Wirral Partnership.

Key Messages

  • Services across Cheshire and Merseyside continue to experience extreme pressure through both numbers and acuity
  • As of Tuesday 12th January acute adult bed occupancy was at 94% and PICU beds was at 97%
  • All mental health trusts are now having to implement business continuity arrangements to maintain services in the face of staff absence due to Covid-19 infection

Operational Issues/Workforce Challenges

  • Patient numbers are significantly higher than was experienced in Wave 1
  • A number of wards are closed to admissions, both due to staff sickness absence and IPC measures where patients have contracted Covid-19.
  • Hostels in Merseyside are refusing to accept new referrals of homeless people who are Covid positive, delaying discharge
  • Children’s and young people’s mental health services have seen an increase in demand, especially for eating disorders
  • Mental Health Act assessments are increasing in number and becoming a more routine response in some Trusts, indicating increased acuity
  • Calls to Crisis Lines continue to increase

Next steps

  • A forensic system wide analysis of discharge issues is being conducted
  • The issue of the delays in discharging homeless people will be escalated to the Out of Hospital Cell Oversight group
  • Spot procurement of independent sector crisis beds and step down beds is being carried out
  • Community mental health staff will be redeployed where appropriate and where this will not adversely impact admission avoidance and rapid discharge
  • PICU service support will be commissioned
  • Processes will be clarified to enable faster access to step up/step down beds, including low  secure services