NHS Kent and Medway ICB has approved proposals to “bring local health-based places of safety (HPPoS) together on one site in Maidstone”, with the change set to bring together five HBPoS which are currently split across three sites in Maidstone, Dartford, and Canterbury.
HBPoS are described as spaces provided in Kent and Medway for “adults needing emergency care and assessment under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act”, with the changes forming part of a wider transformation of mental health urgent and emergency care in the region.
The decision to bring services together on one site follows a public consultation earlier this year, which gathered citizens’ views on the proposals to centralise the HBPoS and asked for feedback on care for people experiencing a mental health crisis. Over half of respondents believed that the proposal would improve patient experience, with two-thirds believing that it will improve staff experience.
The ICB reports that next steps include appointing “a full design team” to work with KMPT and experts-through-experience, to “produce a design and selection process to appoint a main contractor”.
Some of the other changes in this regard include increased investment for an enhanced home treatment team, the introduction of crisis houses, the expansion of a clinical advice line for Kent Police, and rapid response service for urgent clinical mental health assessment within one hour.
Helen Greatorex, chief executive of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, said: “We care for, and support, thousands of people across Kent and Medway with their mental health every year and, for some, that involves helping those in a mental health crisis who need urgent care. Bringing together local health-based places of safety into one, dedicated, high quality environment is just one of the many ways we are transforming urgent and mental health care across the county and this much needed funding will enable us to make sure people continue to receive the right care in the right place and at the right time.”
In other news from the region, a new maternal mental health service has been launched in Kent and Medway to support families after birth trauma or perinatal loss.
Mental wellbeing is also a key part of the ICS’s strategy moving forward, with the strategy promising to “deliver high quality mental health and well-being support” throughout the population and place equal focus and energy on improving mental health as they would with physical health.