Scilly Is ‘Challenging Place’ For Mental Health Issues

hospital sign 2The Isles of Scilly are an “amazingly challenging place” for someone living or visiting with a mental health issue.

That’s according to the Council’s head of health and social care for adults, Clive Acraman, during an update on mental health provision on the islands, given to members of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

A multiagency group, bringing together the NHS, the islands’ GP’s, the Council and the Police, has been reviewing the care of patients who suffer an acute mental health episode. This follows two cases last year that highlighted gaps in the service on the islands.

Clive said the recent resignation of the adult social care manager was an opportunity to recruit “an experienced and professionally qualified person to the role” and the authority intends to find someone who is also an approved Mental Health Practitioner.

That gives them extra powers under the Mental Health Act and this would minimise the need to bring professionals over to Scilly in the event of a crisis.

Clive said the safest place for a patient is on the mainland, where appropriate services are available, and anyone undergoing a mental health crisis would need to be taken off the islands as quickly as possible.

There have been problems in the past taking patients on the Scillonian III and they’ve agreed that the Medical Launch can be used in that situation if necessary.

But that could be a challenge in poor weather and the Police and GP’s here might need to use their ‘sectioning’ powers in these situations. The GP’s are currently undergoing training in these, said Clive.

Professionals might also need to be brought over using emergency air transport.

The Council has identified two potential sites for a ‘safe place’ facility, where patients could be taken for their own and others’ safety, but Clive warned that this would need to be appropriately staffed and that could put pressure on the budgets.

The safe place could be used flexibly, for example as a short-term refuge for those fleeing domestic abuse, he says.

Cllr Dudley Mumford felt that progress had been made since last year. He said they were, “not there yet” but “travelling in the right direction.”