Somerset Trust to Remove Mental Health Workers from NHS Teams

A local authority is considering the idea of removing its mental health social workers from integrating NHS teams.

Somerset County Council believes that the move will not only bring financial benefits, but also enable the trust to improve delivery of the Care Act.

The proposal will impact upon 60 members of staff, and is to be considered and debated by the council of the cabinet at Somerset during a meeting in February.

If agreed, the social workers will be withdrawn from the NHS teams and returned to the local authority’s adult social services department in April.

This move has been partly motivated by the pressure on local authority finances.

Somerset Council has thus been tasked with finding savings in excess of £500,000 from its mental health budget.

But it is also suggested that the movie will enable the region to more satisfactorily comply with the Care Act 2014.

Some within the local authority feel the current integrated arrangement is failing to meet the people’s social care adequately.

Research evidence has suggested that social care is already becoming a massive problem in the UK, and with an increasingly greying population, this is set to intensify in the coming years.

Commenting on the attempts of Somerset Council to improve compliance with the Care Act, a Somerset County Council spokesperson outlined the view of the organisation.

“The proposals would enable us to ensure the positive work that has been underway regarding the council’s operating model fully includes mental health staff. It would enable greater emphasis on prevention, greater professional support and more direct supervision.”

With many staff potentially affected by the plans of the council, it was emphasised that all involved have already been informed.

The trust has been forced to commit itself to a merger with Somerset Partnership in what can be considered somewhat controversial circumstances.

Some staff and analysts have been critical of the decision, but those speaking on behalf of the council have indicated their rationale behind it.

Today, Andy Heron, Somerset Partnership’s acting chief executive, stated: “Our trust is aware that adult social care services in Somerset are facing significant pressures at present and that a number of options are being considered for their social workers in our mental health teams. As we understand it, there is no formal proposal as yet and we would hope that all options are considered.”

The Somerset Partnership is generally considered to be one of the pioneers of mental-health, having originally floated the idea of integrating services back in 1990s.

 
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Monitor Takes Action at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

The health regulator Monitor has stepped in to address problems in a trust based in Somerset.

Monitor has decided to take action on behalf of patients at Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust, with the organisation is struggling to deal with financial difficulty.

An investigation has been carried out into the finances of the trust, and the regulator has decided that Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has failed in its responsibilities to its patients.

Monitor believes that the interest is effectively a breach of its license to provide NHS services.

According to the latest calculations from the health regulator, the trust is expected to lose in the region of £8.3 million during this financial year.

Although the Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust has put a plan in place to address the situation, its recovery scheme is currently failing to make sufficient inroads into the deficit.

Indeed, Monitor currently believes that there is a risk that the financial position of the trust may deteriorate further.

And the health regulator asserts that there are currently insufficient plans in place in order to mitigate against this threat.

Among the actions requested by Monitor is the appointment of a so-called ‘turnaround director’, whose responsibility it will be to support and challenge the trust as requisite improvements are put in place.

Commenting on the situation at the trust, Paul Streat, Regional Director at Monitor, expressed the concerns of the health regulator at the financial position of the Somerset-based institution.

“We’re concerned that the trust is losing money and hasn’t yet developed the right plans to tackle its financial problems. These problems are fairly recent. We are stepping in early to ensure that the trust can quickly get its finances back on track,” Streat commented.

Streat also confirmed the plans of the regulator to install a turnaround director.

“The trust will also be appointing a turnaround director who will use their expertise to help the trust board make the improvements needed. We are confident that with this support it can recover its finances and continue to provide quality care to patients in Somerset.”

Finally, Streat indicated that Monitor intends to keep a close eye on the situation, and that it is very much an ongoing one with the trust having the opportunity to prove that it has improved financially.

“The regulator will closely Monitor the trust’s progress against its financial recovery plan, and will take further action if necessary for patients,” Streat explained.

 
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