Doctor calls for mental health consideration

A MEDICAL director at a local home has expressed disappointment that mental health services were not explored by an independent review into the planned shake-up of the NHS.

Dr Claire Royston, of Care Principles, which runs the secure hospital Linden House in Market Weighton, is not happy that the provision of services for those with mental health needs was not explored by the NHS Future Forum when it made recommendations to the government on the Health and Social Care Bill.

As the government looks to change the way services are commissioned, she believes it is important that all areas are fully considered to ensure the most appropriate care is provided.

As a leading psychiatrist in the independent sector with over 27 years psychiatric experience, Dr Royston has condemned the admission by the NHS Future Forum that it had not looked at provision for mental health care when it reviewed the Health and Social Care Bill.

Dr Royston has already made a submission to the Health and Social Care Bill Committee in which she also suggested that a specialist NHS commissioning body be set up for learning disabled patients with complex difficulties, and those with complex presentations of Autism or Aspergers syndrome.

In addition, she maintains that specialist psychiatrists should be significantly involved in commissioning for these patients and it should bring together those responsible for commissioning services with those tasked with service delivery.

She said “There is an extensive knowledge base in the independent sector which should be utilised. Having psychiatrists involved in commissioning will provide greater protection for these patients, and help to ensure that they receive the correct type of care.

“The proposed Health and Social Care Bill and the inquiry by the Health Select Committee has provided an opportunity to look at how we care for patients with challenging behaviour and specialist needs, protect their interests, and ensure appropriate and cost-effective clinical and care pathways. To ensure this, all areas which will require services being commissioned must be regarded with equal importance, and it is therefore extremely disappointing that the NHS Future Forum did not look at the issue of mental health.”