Fewer mental health centres is hitting hard

THE INCREASE in people from Eastbourne being admitted to hospital with drug-related mental health and behavioural problems could be due to the lack of mental health services in the town, according to one local charity worker.

Jackie Nicholson-Hook, from Wealden, Eastbourne and Lewes Mind, believes many people in the area feel they have nowhere to go for support.

Her comments come after it was revealed the number of people being admitted to hospital with such problems had gone up by almost 70 per cent in one year.

Hospitals across the county dealt with 188 incidents between April 2010 and March compared to 112 the year before.

Brighton and Hove had 70 admissions, while West Sussex and East Sussex Downs and Weald had 43 and 31 respectively.

Ms Nicholson-Hook said, “There used to be three mental health day centres in Eastbourne which people could access and go into for support and now there is only one.

“Since the change in day services it’s become more noticeable that there are more people wandering around the streets that have mental health issues.

“Eastbourne has always been recognised as the least resourced area in East Sussex.”

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said plans had been set out by NHS services in Sussex to make it easier for people with mental health problems to quickly get the right care and treatment.

It said people with a mental health problem who also misuse drugs or alcohol, sometimes diagnosed as ‘dual diagnosis’, have historically found it hard to get appropriate care and treatment because of their complex issues.

The new strategy for improving the health and wellbeing of people in Sussex with a dual diagnosis provides clear guidance for local health and social care organisation on how to best to work together to care for, treat and support someone with a dual diagnosis.

Dr Anita Green, dual diagnosis nurse consultant and professional lead nurse for dual diagnosis at Sussex Partnership said, “The strategy provides a clear vision and framework to ensure real improvement in the mental health and wellbeing of service users with a dual diagnosis who access services delivered by the Trust.

“We need to ensure we offer flexible and sustainable care and treatment that is clearly presented and easily accessible through clinical care pathways.”

The NHS Information Centre, where the figures came from, explained the increase in 2011/12 may be a real change or in part may be due to changes in recording practices in this year or previous years, adding, “This may be particularly relevant for admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis where some of the increase may be attributable to changes in recording practice.”

A spokesman for NHS Sussex said, “We are working to ensure that the care of people with both mental health and drug misuse problems across Sussex is provided in the most co-ordinated and effective way possible. Action being taken includes working with Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust to implement dual diagnosis plans which aim to make it easier for people with both mental health and substance misuse problems to quickly get the care and treatment they need.”