Residents urged to have their say over changes to Harrogate's NHS mental health services

North Yorkshire's Health Watchdog, Coun Jim Clark. Picture: Adrian Murray
North Yorkshire's Health Watchdog, Coun Jim Clark. Picture: Adrian Murray

North Yorkshire’s health watchdog has urged residents to make their voices heard over proposed changes to mental health provisions in Harrogate.

The development of services for adults and older people will be discussed at three public events around the district, over the next month.

But Councillor Jim Clark, Chair of North Yorkshire's Scrutiny of Health Committee, has encouraged residents to get involved in the discussions as the provisions face a multimillion pound deficit in the local NHS budget.

He said: "This is a time of great change and uncertainty in the NHS both nationally and locally and I have recently written to the Health Secretary highlighting the particular problems in North Yorkshire.

"We must take every opportunity to put forward the case for better services."

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust, which provides mental health services across the north of England, and Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group, which commissions health services in the district, were given planning permission to build a £16million mental health facility on Beckwith Head Road, in 2016.

But the plans were put on hold last July as the CCG faced a planned deficit of £6.5million. This has since doubled to more than £14million.

Coun Clark added: "I was pleased, after years of campaigning, when it was announced two years ago that we would get a new inpatient facility built at Cardale Park, only for a pause to be announced last year.

"Members of the public should take the opportunity to come and give their views so that we can have 21st century mental health services in our district."

At the end of last year TEWV and the CCG asked for residents' views about what should be done to improve mental health provisions in Harrogate, in light of the difficult financial situation.

Since then five areas for development have been identified, including:

- Development of community services

- Retain adult mental health beds in Harrogate or transfer to another site

- Retain older people’s mental health beds in Harrogate or transfer to another site

- Develop a new form of dementia care in Harrogate

- Develop alternatives to acute mental health admission in Harrogate

The next stage of public engagement will see three public events held on:

- Tuesday, March 6, from 10am - 12pm, at Ripon Community House, Sharow View, 75 Allhallowgate, Ripon HG4 1LE

- Monday, March 19, from 1 - 3pm, at Chain Lane Community Hub, Knaresborough HG5 0AS

- Tuesday, March 27, from 10am - 12pm, at The Old Swan Hotel, Swan Road, Harrogate HG1 2SR