Jeremy Hunt visits mental health services

The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, paid a visit to local mental health services on Friday 27 January after the Department of Health awarded £705,000 to Pennine Care to improve services. 

Jeremy Hunt visitPennine Care has been awarded £400,000 to develop a new crisis café/sanctuary in Oldham for people experiencing a mental health crisis, instead of phoning emergency services or attending A&E.

A further £300,000 has also been given to improve wards for adults and people who are detained under the Mental Health Act during a crisis. 

The Health Secretary visited two of Pennine Care’s mental health units to see how the funding will be used to benefit service users. 

He firstly visited Prospect Place, a unit for men who have longer term mental health problems and require rehabilitation in a secure environment. 

Mr Hunt also visited a ward for adults who are experiencing a mental health crisis and need to be admitted to a mental health unit for ongoing care. 

This ward will directly benefit from the Department of Health funding to improve its facilities.  Both of these services are located on the Birch Hill Hospital site.

During the visit the Health Secretary talked with staff and service users about their experiences and the challenges facing frontline mental health services. 

He said: "Staff at Pennine Care deal with some of the NHS's most vulnerable patients every day. These individuals rightly expect the best possible quality of care and services and I'm really impressed by the efforts I've seen here today to create a safe and caring environment, where patients are treated with dignity and respect."

 Michael McCourt, Chief Executive, said: “It was fantastic to welcome Mr Hunt to Pennine Care; he saw examples of staff working hard to deliver excellent care, under difficult circumstances. 

"The funding will greatly help towards improving our facilities so that we can ensure service users feel welcome and valued during what is a very difficult time in their lives.” 

The funding was awarded as part of a Department of Health programme to improve places of safety for mental health across the country.

Pennine Care prepared a bid for the funding in collaboration with partners from Clinical Commissioning Groups and Local Authorities.

*Pictured (left to right): Back row - Mike Liffen, Dario Griffiths, Jeremy Hunt, Michael McCourt, Dil Jauffur, Dr Henry Ticehurst. Front row - Mark Hepburn and Fiona Christopher.