'No excuse' for mental health failings in Lancashire

Concerns over mental health services in Lancashire, including problems at The Harbour in Blackpool, are being raised with the health secretary after being revealed in The Gazette
Concerns over mental health services in Lancashire, including problems at The Harbour in Blackpool, are being raised with the health secretary after being revealed in The Gazette

A "highly worrying series of failings" over mental health services in Lancashire are to be raised with Health Secretary Matt Hancock by a Blackpool MP.

Gordon Marsden, whose Blackpool South constituency includes The Harbour mental health unit on Preston New Road, said his own casework had illustrated the need for action.

He was speaking after members of Blackpool Council’s adult cocial care and health scrutiny committee grilled Dr Leon LeRoux, clinical director for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, about a series of failings in the way mental health services are being run, as reported in The Gazette.

Mr Marsden said: “I think the scrutiny committee did a superb job of really bringing to account a highly worrying series of failings both administrative and otherwise that have been going on, particularly at The Harbour.

“Over the last couple of years, if not more, I have been consistently concerned about the knock-on effects on other areas of the NHS in Blackpool particularly.

“This is people not being able to get proper treatment at The Harbour and therefore having to go to A&E. Also, people not being properly dealt with by GPs as they have not had a proper way of referring them.

“I recognise The Harbour was never simply to be a non-stop shop for all serious mental health treatment in Lancashire.

“There was an assumption at the time that there was to be two other facilities of a similar size in Lancashire but these never materialised.

“But none of this is an excuse for a systematic lack of management attention and process that has gone on at Lancashire Care Trust in my opinion.

“I will be writing to the Health Secretary and forwarding a copy of The Gazette report and asking for his comments. I think people have just had enough of this.”

A lack of resources, including staff shortages and not enough beds, has been blamed for problems which led to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) giving Lancashire Care a ‘must improve’ rating following an inspection earlier this year.

A Lancashire Care spokesman previously said: “An improvement plan has been developed to address some of the fundamental issues in the delivery of mental health services and part of this involves looking at how we can increase capacity within services to respond to current demand."