Mental health services set for modernisation
PATIENTS could soon be accessing mental health services in Bristol through community groups.
Providing mental health support at GP surgeries and referring patients through community or faith groups are among the proposals that have been put forward for the modernisation of services in Bristol.
The aim of the overhaul of mental health services in the city is to make it easier for patients to access the support they need closer to home.
NHS Bristol – which commissions health services in the city – also hopes that providing support closer to home will mean mental health patients are less likely to suffer crises and there can be less reliance on inpatient beds.
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A consultation has now been launched to encourage people who use mental health services in the city to share their thoughts on the proposals.
NHS Bristol is looking at dementia services, crisis services, recovery services and support for people with chaotic lifestyles and complex needs.
They have suggested that mental health services should be ageless – focusing on the need rather than a person's age – and efforts should be made to ensure they meet the cultural diversity of Bristol.
A walk-in centre for people in crisis – whether it is a psychotic episode or someone in mental distress – has been proposed. And services could be run by more than one organisation within 18 months.
Maya Bimson, NHS Bristol's mental health consultation project director, said: "We are looking to modernise mental health services and make them fit for Bristol and the changing face of Bristol.
"The key thing is that we are trying to make it much easier to access all mental health services, including through community access points.
"People might be linked in with community groups locally and should be able to access services through that group rather than having to find the phone numbers themselves. Most services will be delivered in the community rather than in hospital."
Ms Bimson said that in the same way that diabetes is now managed in the community with specialist support rather than in hospital, the aim is for mental health teams to be based in or near people's GP surgeries so that they only attend hospital or inpatient services when they really need to.
The consultation will run until September 28 and a revised model will be published in October based on comments.
To find out more visit www.bristol.nhs.uk or call: 0117 9841642.