Psychiatry blueprint out in autumn

Detailed plans for a psychiatry service for older people are
expected to be unveiled by the government in the autumn.

The blueprint is likely to focus on what a specialist local service
should look like and how staff who already work with older people
can be trained to recognise mental health problems early.

It will detail how older people should be able to access treatment
through “trusted” local practitioners, such as GPs, community
nurses and care assistants.

After details are finalised local commissioners will be expected to
allocate resources to the new services, although there are no
indications any extra government money will be made

Louis Appleby, national director for mental health, said the
blueprint would not be a national service framework but would have
“a similar effect”.

He added: “We are not expecting to create a new set of targets but
it will show how better services link to existing targets.”

Ian Philp, national director for older people’s services, said the
strategy would be a “service improvement guide”, building on
discussions with stakeholders.

The blueprint will build on a recent Department of Health policy
paper on older adults and mental health, which argues that the key
priorities are changing attitudes and improving detection skills in
mainstream services.

It suggests that a specialist set-up may include memory assessment
services, integrated health and social care mental health teams and
specialist support to care homes.

Gil Hitchon, chief executive of mental health charity Together,
said older people should have the same rights and safeguards as the
users of other mental health services.

He added: “It is essential that older people receive psychiatric
support in their own communities, rather than in hospital, and that
attention is paid to their physical health care needs.”

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Andrew McCulloch welcomed
the idea of combining forces across older people’s and mental
health services but said the success of the vision would have to be
evaluated over the next few years.

  • Securing Better Mental Health for Older Adults from

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