STRUCTURE: A consultation on the reconfiguration of mental health services across Kent is due to end on 26 October.

Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust and NHS Kent and Medway launched a three-month consultation in July following a comprehensive review of local mental health services.

The review found there were not enough hospital beds in east Kent, unsuitable inpatient services in Medway and that better psychiatric intensive outreach services are needed in east Kent.

The trusts are consulting on plans to treat people in three centres of excellence in Dartford, Maidstone and Canterbury. These will offer single en suite rooms, access to outdoor space and improved access to consultant psychiatrists, nursing and therapy teams.

The plans include proposals to:

  • increase the number of beds in east Kent, by converting the current Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit in Canterbury
  • expand the psychiatric intensive care outreach service, a specialist team which supports ward staff to cover the whole of Kent and Medway
  • consolidate the psychiatric intensive care beds into one unit in Dartford
  • invest £297,000 a year in additional Crisis Resolution Home Treatment staff from April 2013 to enable more patients to be treated at home.

However, this would mean “A Block” at Medway Maritime Hospital, which is not suitable for crisis care, would no longer provide acute mental health hospital care.

People from Medway, Sittingbourne and Sheppey who need admission to hospital would be treated in one of the three centres of excellence instead.  People in Medway would access the centre in Dartford.

The NHS is consulting on three options for people in Sittingbourne and Sheppey – either at Maidstone, Dartford or Canterbury – and two options for Swanley patients – either Dartford or Maidstone.

The closing date for responses is 26 October 2012.