West Norfolk health chiefs withdraw funding from helpline

Dr Ian Mack - Chairman of the new West Norfolk Commissioning group. ENGANL00120130319164755

Dr Ian Mack - Chairman of the new West Norfolk Commissioning group. ENGANL00120130319164755

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Health chiefs have pulled the plug on a mental health crisis line just six months after it was launched.

West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group and others in the county have withdrawn funding from the Norfolk Support Line, which is run by MIND. The service ends in July

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Former health minister Norman Lamb, who launched the service in January, said it was a “dreadful decision”.

A spokesman for the West Norfolk CCG said: “We have made the decision to not continue funding the central MIND helpline and are instead proposing a new better integrated and more locally –focussed model for crisis response for West Norfolk patients.

“Patients in the West Norfolk area already have access to a 24-hour help line through the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team (West Norfolk), provided by the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) which will continue.

“The new integrated service will enhance the functions of the psychiatric liaison service at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Team to ensure assessments take place where possible in the community. We will of course, as with any new model of care, manage this in close collaboration with NSFT to ensure any impacts on service delivery are closely monitored. The new service is expected to be in place by August 1.”

A Mind statement says: “We are very shocked and extremely disappointed with the decision of the five CCGs not to continue funding the support line. The support line has proven to be a very successful pilot since January taking in excess of 6000 calls from services users who have described the connection they have with the project as ‘’a lifeline.

“The number of calls we receive continues to grow monthly and the support line not continuing past July is our worst fear, primarily for our service users who we are very concerned about losing this lifeline.”