• Worcestershire trust withdraws from mental health consortium
  • Cites need to focus on STP
  • Staff move to Birmingham Women’s and Children’s FT to keep service running

A West Midlands trust has withdrawn from a controversial mental health consortium to focus on its sustainability and transformation partnership.

Worcestershire Health and Care Trust withdrew from the Forward Thinking Birmingham consortium, which provides mental health services for 0-25 year olds, last weekend.

The withdrawal comes two years into the service’s five year contract.

Trust board papers show it left “to allow both ourselves and Birmingham providers to concentrate on their respective STPs and work to try to support those local pathways”.

“Whilst this had been a difficult decision, because the model was exciting and innovative, it felt the appropriate way forward,” they added.

The trust is part of Herefordshire and Worcestershire STP, while the lead provider in the consortium, Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Foundation Trust, is part of Birmingham and Solihull STP.

A part of the change, some Worcestershire staff have transferred to BWC where they will continue to focus on services for 18-25 year olds and provide safeguarding and legal advice for the service overall.

The other Forward Thinking Birmingham partners are Beacon UK, Priory Group and The Children’s Society.

The consortium was established in 2016 and moved mental health services for 18-25 year olds away from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health FT.

The move was controversial at the time, with a leaked report in 2015, ahead of the switch, warning it could have “catastrophic consequences” for service users.

In July 2017, commissioners were forced to fund more inpatient beds for Forward Thinking Birmingham after another report found patients were being placed at “intolerable risk” by the severe shortfall.

In February 2018, part of the service run by the BWC was rated inadequate.

Both Worcestershire and BWC confirmed the changes took place at the end of last month.

A joint statement said: “The changes will allow both trusts to focus on working with local partners to improve the integration of care within our respective STPs.”