A new unit at Blackpool Victoria Hospital will ease pressure on A&E staff dealing with people with mental health difficulties.
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The Mental Health Decision Unit has been set up by the hospital and mental health charity the Richmond Fellowship.
The facility is located alongside the acute hospital’s A&E department and will support up to four people at a time.
The unit will provide a short term safe therapeutic environment where people in crisis can be assessed and then referred on to the appropriate service, or be discharged into the community.
It will be accessible for people 24 hours a day and will provide an alternative pathway for people requiring urgent mental health help.
The unit supports people over 18 and is not an inpatient unit with people spending between four and 23-hours if they are not stable enough to return home.
Lisa Moorhouse, head of operations at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation said: “We are really excited to be opening a brand new Mental Health Decision Unit in this locality.
The demand on mental health services across Lancashire is growing and over the past 18 months we have been working extremely hard to deliver a number of new mental health services across the county.
“The unit has been designed to provide an alternative pathway for those experiencing a mental health crisis who present at A&E.
“By providing a safe environment and trained staff with significant experience of supporting people with mental health issues, we hope to reduce the need for people to experience further crisis and end up in a hospital bed, which should always be a last resort.”
Joe Redmond, managing director of Richmond Fellowship (North), said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside the NHS to provide effective support to people experiencing a mental health crisis.
“Richmond Fellowship already provides a range of support to people across Lancashire living with mental ill health and this new service will enable us to reach out to even more people and provide them with the support they need.”