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Campaigners cautious over multimillion pound investment in county's mental health services

PUBLISHED: 15:35 28 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:39 29 October 2019

Extra funding for mental health liaison services at the James Paget University Hospital (pictured) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital were among mental health funding announcements made by the Norfolk and Waveney STP. Photo: James Paget University Hospital

Extra funding for mental health liaison services at the James Paget University Hospital (pictured) and Queen Elizabeth Hospital were among mental health funding announcements made by the Norfolk and Waveney STP. Photo: James Paget University Hospital

James Paget University Hospital

Mental health campaigners have cautiously welcomed a multimillion pound funding boost to services in Norfolk which will benefit children and adults.

Services to support children and young people's mental wellbeing, improved crisis support for adults and strengthened mental health provision at the county's hospitals are among schemes which will get a share of the £5m pot.

Most of the money, announced by health forum the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) on Wednesday, will be seed funding from central government to get schemes off the ground, including:

- £700,000 for children and young people's services, including hiring new wellbeing practitioners and bolstering mental health support teams.

- £1.9m over two years for mental health liaison services at the James Paget and Queen Elizabeth Hospitals to provide 'Core 24' care standards for patients with mental health needs - a protocol already in place at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

- £1.1m over two years to recruit more staff to Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust's (NSFT) crisis resolution and home treatment teams.

- £540,000 to develop a "crisis house" service to prevent mental health hospital admissions.

The STP has also announced a £177,000 investment to continue developing perinatal mental health services and £800,000 to develop and roll out a new pathway for people with personality disorders, which has been allocated from the STP's regular budget.

Dr Tony Palframan, chairman of Norfolk and Waveney STP's mental health forum, said: "Earlier this year we launched our new Norfolk and Waveney strategies for both adults' and children's mental health, and we are working alongside service users to deliver them. These announcements demonstrate we are beginning to make real progress."

A spokesman for the Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk said: "We warmly welcome any additional funding of mental health services, which remain inadequate and have been poorly funded in Norfolk for more than five years."

However, the spokesman added that the group remained cautious about "net spending" on mental health services and the ability of local NHS organisations to find qualified staff to fill new roles.

Norwich city councillor Karen Davis also raised concerns about the extent of the new measures and staffing.

She said: "Whilst, of course, I welcome new money for NSFT, I fail to see how this will affect the many people who have already fallen through the cracks in the system."

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