A petition has been launched and a formal investigation is due to be conducted, over the state of in-patient mental health provisions in the Harrogate District.
The Harrogate Lib Dem Party have started an online petition to demand that plans for a £16million in-patient facility on Beckwith Head Road go ahead.
The land on the western side of the town has already been purchased by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, which deliver mental health services across the north of England.
But plans for the facility were put on hold in July in light of a £6.5million blackhole in the budget of Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions health services in the district.
But with no definite replacement for the facilities at the Briary Wing of Harrogate District Hospital, which have been called ‘unfit for purpose’, the Lib Dems have raised concern that soon, there will be no in-patient mental health beds in the Harrogate District.
Lib Dem Councillor Pat Marsh said: “As we know, and dementia is on the increase, dementia patients can exhibit very challenging behaviour and need crisis care. Are we going to send them out of the district?
“These people are in a very vulnerable state and are having more pressure put on them with the services not being available in their communities. It must add to their problems, to have to travel to access the care they need. It’s almost inhumane to expect people to do that.”
The CCG finished a public engagement process to look at its options in October, which it said would make the basis of a formal consultation.
Amanda Bloor, Chief Officer at the CCG said: “There have been no changes to current local mental health care services.
“Ensuring people with mental health concerns receive the best care possible is a priority to us all.
“We have started conversations with people who receive mental health services, their unpaid carers, partners and voluntary and community organisations and have been asking for their views on what local mental health services they would like to see now and in the future.
"We have kept our local partners briefed on this work and welcome further opportunities to continue discussions with them.
“Ongoing conversations and engagement will continue. This will inform the design and development of any changes to services. Consultation will follow as and when appropriate.
“The aim is to involve as many people as possible in these conversations so that everyone can have their say, and this is very important.
“We are committed to continually understanding the needs of local people, making sure we take into consideration any information people have already told us.
“There have been no changes to current local mental health care services. I’d like to reassure people that we are considering people’s needs fully so that we can develop long term, safe, affordable and sustainable quality services for people across the whole of the area. Local people’s mental health is a priority for us all.”
The petition launched by the Lib Dems also calls for improved provision of NHS dental care in the district, after it recently emerged that there are no NHS dental places immediately available at any of the 15 practices. Click here to sign the petition.
North Yorkshire County Council has supported the concerns over mental health services and has referred a motion to its Scrutiny of Health Committee to conduct a formal investigation of the future of mental health services in the district.