Shropshire's mental health service addressing staffing concerns after protest

A mental health service for young people in Shropshire is addressing its staffing issues, health commissioners have confirmed.

Protesters gathered outside the base of Shropshire's children and adolescent mental health service last week
Protesters gathered outside the base of Shropshire's children and adolescent mental health service last week

Last week, about 50 protesters campaigned outside the base of Shropshire’s children and adolescent mental health service in Shrewsbury.

It followed claims the service had too few psychiatrists to cover all of the Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin boroughs.

South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust runs the emotional health and wellbeing service, which has already had to address a number of teething problems since last May.

Dr Julie Davies, director of performance and delivery at Shropshire clinical commissioning group, said three locum consultants had also recently resigned.

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She said priority cases had been identified and handed over to the remaining psychiatrists.

It has led to the cancellation of 84 routine appointments, although urgent appointment slots are still available.

However, Dr Davies said staffing numbers are expected to be boosted later this month.

She said: "They have been able to obtain three locums who are starting at various dates in April."

A report to the CCG governance board, which meets today, says: "Psychiatrists with specialist skills in treating young people are very difficult to recruit (this is a national issue).

"However, these posts are required and to cover the gap, locums are used when necessary.

"There is however, four psychiatrists working full time within the service and a lead psychiatrist who is working alongside them.

Consultation

"In addition a further substantive consultant is commencing in post on May 7 and interviews are taking place for a further substantive post in April."

Dr Julian Povey, chairman of Shropshire CCG, said there were problems but the service was improving.

He said: "It is in a better place than it was and it's moving forward."

Previously, young people were supported by child and adolescent mental health services.

The new service was developed following consultation with the public and professionals and has now been used by more than 2,600 people.

The service caters for children and young people up to the age of 25.

It is delivered in partnership with other organisations and includes online support.

Kooth is available to all young people in the area without a referral and consists of information, self help materials as well as therapy.

Healios provides therapy to young people who have had an assessment where this is an appropriate treatment or intervention.

Jigsaw Family Group, which works with hundreds of youngsters diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, said it had organised last week's protest at Coral House in Harlescott Lane.

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