Thursday, December 7, 2023

Cuts To Hit “Costly” Mental Health Services Across Derbyshire

Patients with mental health conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety and other “severe and complex” disorders, face their support being axed to cut costs, it has been revealed.

The psychodynamic psychotherapy service commissioned for residents in Derbyshire with health conditions which could include depression, childhood trauma and lifelong distress, along with PTSD, is being reviewed by health chiefs in a bid to save money.

In Derbyshire, mental health services are organised by the Hardwick Clinical Commissioning Group, on behalf of the whole county.

Its assistant director for contracting and procurement, David Gardner, spoke to Derbyshire county councillors this week about the ongoing review of health services in the county. He revealed that there are 136 patients in Derbyshire who have used the service, 120 of which are actively doing so.

The cost of the service works out as £8,566 per patient – £1,028,000 overall each year.

Mr Gardner said told the council’s improvement and scrutiny committee: “We don’t think the outcomes justify the cost of the service.

“This is part of a process where we have reviewed all health services, not just mental health.

“Despite this, these services will still be invested in, and our budget will go up by £4 million next year, followed by another £4 million the year after and the year after that.

“We need to get the best value for money and keep up with demand – the emphasis is on affordability.

“At the end of the day, this is not necessarily a ‘must-do’ service but is a ‘nice to have’ service.

“We need to find ways to balance our books, and to coin a phrase, this is the least-worst option and we need to take a look at it – however painful that is.

“We need to be making the most of our finances, and everyone who is currently getting these mental health services [offered by the psychodynamic psychotherapy team] will still get a service.

“The whole or a part of the mental health services in this county will be given more investment.”

In April, a Derby doctor spoke to the Local Democracy Reporting Service about the plans to cut the psychodynamic and psychotherapy service.

Dr Stephen Buller, who has worked in the NHS for nearly 50 years as a clinician, researcher of psychiatry, mental health specialist, consultant, service manager and academic, said that the proposed cuts will hit the most vulnerable the hardest.

Dr Buller, 65, from Derby, called the proposals a “detrimental and disturbing tragedy”.

He said: “In reality there has been a slow erosion of the quality and quantity of expert psychological and psychotherapy services in Derby City and Derbyshire over nearly ten years, and these latest proposals follow this detrimental and disturbing trend.

Dr Stephen Buller, 65, from Derby.

“In my view this is a tragedy for those who need this kind of help.

“There is a requirement for proper investment and strategic planning in this area to ensure we have services for those in serious need.”

By Eddie Bisknell – Local Democracy Reporter


Dr Stephen Buller, 65, from Derby – Photo provided by Dr Stephen Buller

Claire Meese


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