New mental health unit proposed for Blackpool would help meet demand for care

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Plans have been revealed for a residential home to ease pressure on existing mental health services in Blackpool which are struggling to cope with demand for beds.

Northern Healthcare wants to use Abbeyfield House on Boscombe Road in South Shore to provide accommodation for up to 14 adults with needs relating to mental health, autism and learning disabilities.

Abbeyfield House

Abbeyfield House

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Residents would receive 24-hour care to support their recovery closer to home.

It comes in the wake of a beds crisis in mental health care with the purpose-built Harbour facility in Blackpool being unable to cope with demand and many patients going to A&E at Blackpool Victoria Hospital for help instead.

Figures presented to Blackpool Council's health scrutiny committee in January showed a 25 per cent increase since last April in the number of patients arriving at BVH with mental health problems.

Northern Healthcare has applied for planning permission to use Abbeyfield House which would be among a number of new homes it is opening across the country.

Noel Tracy, chief executive of Northern Healthcare, says in a letter accompanying the application: "We have met with the A&E mental health liaison team who also have challenges finding appropriate support for individuals living independently and presenting at A&E as a result of a relapse in mental health.

"This can lead to individuals being admitted to acute mental health beds potentially out of area which has a detrimental effect on the individual and their long-term recovery.

"Having access to 24 hour supported living services can avoid lengthy re-admissions to hospital and have a better clinical outcome for the individual as well as a significant positive financial impact for the NHS and local authority. "

Funding for placements is provided jointly by NHS England and the local authority.

Abbeyfield House would remain in the ownership of the Fairhome Group who would manage the building through one of its housing associations, with Northern Healthcare providing the care service.

The application will be considered by town hall planners at a future date.