MENTAL health services in Worcester are set to improve as the Trust reveals ambitious plans following a government cash injection.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust have been underfire recently by patients claiming they have been waiting over a year to receive mental health support - as it is revealed that, last year, 43,000 new patients sought help for mental health issues across the two counties.

But, chief operating officer, Matthew Hall, says this is hopefully all about to change as he reveals the Trust's ambitious plans to 'simplify and expand' mental health provision in Worcester by introducing Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams.

He said: "In line with NHS England’s Long-term Plan; an extra £14.2 million is being invested in mental health services across Herefordshire and Worcestershire in the coming year. This will go a long way to ensuring that everybody who has a need can access mental health services in a timely fashion.

"This funding boost will allow us to roll out our Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams across Worcestershire. These teams will be made up of qualified professionals, support workers and volunteers and will be working closely with GP's to ensure that referrals go to the right place in the first instance.

"When people are trying to access mental health support, the first place they usually go is to their GP and it is then down to the GP to refer the patient to the right place for help - this is where the Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams come in.

"The current system can be challenging to navigate as there are so many different services to go to when referring, such as Healthy Minds, Community Assessment and Recovery Service and the Enhanced Primary Care Mental Health Team it can be hard to signpost patients to the right place and this can cause delays.

"Our aim is to simplify this by pooling all the resources from these separate teams as well as the new resources from the Neighbourhood Mental Health Team to create a more streamlined service that will cut waiting times down and prevent patients from being passed from one service to another.

"The service will also operate as a 'no discharge system' so once someone has sought help and received the support needed, they will then be able to contact the team should they need help again, without having to go back to the GP, or complete an initial assessment again.

"We have already rolled this out across Herefordshire, Malvern and The Wyre Forest and we have found patient access is substantially quicker, in fact 60 percent of patients were seen in under a month. We hope, as long as the recruitment process goes well, to have the Neighbourhood Mental Health Teams rolled out across the city and the county by the end of the year.

“In the mean time, if you do find yourself waiting to receive support and struggling, please do use our free 24/7 help line. Our crisis team are ready and waiting to take your call and can provide help and support at any time of the day or night. I would strongly encourage anyone who needs them, to call them on 0808 196 9127. That is what they are there for.”