Working with commissioners NHS England, the Trust has provided the much-needed beds to help alleviate the current situation which all too often sees children and young people having to travel many miles away from home for specialist mental health care.
The Trust has opened the additional low secure beds within existing space at one of its specialist wards in Bluebird House at Tatchbury Mount, Calmore. In addition, staff with the right skills to support this group of patients have been recruited.
The young people who will be cared for as part of this new service have mental and neuro-developmental disorders which pose a significant level of harm either to themselves or others and/or who display challenging behaviour, self-harm and vulnerability.
Mayura Deshpande, Clinical Services Director, explained: “There is currently a well-documented shortage, nationally, of low secure mental health beds for adolescents. As a result, we were recently approached to provide new beds as an urgent measure to address this. I’m proud to say that our team responded to the request at pace and we have been able to open the beds within a very short timeframe due to the hard work of my clinical colleagues.
“As a Trust, we have considerable expertise in treating young people with complex presentations. Young people admitted to our new low secure service will get the best possible treatment, education and rehabilitation. In addition, the new beds will significantly increase the availability of highly specialist care for children across the South. The work forms part of our longer term plans, working with NHS England to further increase the capacity of these highly specialised services for children across the country – with a particular focus on being able to support more people from Hampshire within the county.”
Alex Bishop, an Independent Mental Health Advocate for Children and Young People from Solent Mind, added: “To have an extra six beds in a local hospital is very much welcomed, as mental health provision for young people is so scarce nationally.
“When we visit the young people at Bluebird House to provide our advocacy service, we can see how much our support empowers them to express their wishes and understand their treatment. Our partnership with Southern Health at Bluebird House makes a real difference to the lives of young people in a mental health setting.”