Partnership responds to review of urgent mental health services across Lancashire and South Cumbria

Graphical landscape representation of Lancashire and South Cumbria

A partnership of NHS, local authority, police and other emergency services have committed to taking action together following the results of an independent review of urgent mental health services.

There has been a significant increase in demand for mental health services across Lancashire and South Cumbria over the past eighteen months. The increase in demand has led to people waiting too long for admission to hospital and has also had an impact on the ambulance service and police which is not sustainable. A review of the urgent mental health pathway commenced in October 2018.

The results of the review, which was carried out independently by Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust – who are a provider of high performing mental health services, have been made available this week in a report which is supported by a commitments to take action from organisations within the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria partnership, which includes NHS, police, local authority, public sector and community and charitable organisations.

The review involved listening to feedback from 100 service users, 105 members of staff, 50 GPs and more than 60 staff from voluntary, community and faith organisations along with analysis of data related to mental health services.

The report includes 27 recommendations for improving mental health services. There is a strong commitment by all partners to act upon these recommendations in order to improve services and deliver better mental health care for people across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

The results of the review into the urgent mental health pathway in Lancashire have been made available on the Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria website here:

Dr Amanda Doyle, GP and Chief Officer for Healthier Lancashire and South Cumbria, said:  “The urgent mental health pathway review offers an independent perspective of the issues and challenges we face across our partner organisations in Lancashire and South Cumbria that are affecting the delivery of mental health services.

“We are grateful to the service users, members of staff and stakeholders who contributed to the review. Their open and honest input has helped to create a clear picture of where we have gone wrong, and what we need to do to improve. We have listened to this feedback and we understand people will want to see action as quickly as possible.”

“One of the first steps we have taken is to be open and transparent about the findings of the report and outlining our commitment to take action as a partnership to improve services for the 1.7 million people across Lancashire and South Cumbria.”

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust is the main provider of mental health services in

Lancashire. The Trust works in collaboration with commissioners from all eight Clinical Commissioning Groups across Lancashire and South Cumbria, with local authorities, the police and a wider range of partners.

Caroline Donovan, Chief  Executive of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, said:  “We welcome this report and its recommendations even though it makes very difficult reading for all of us involved in the delivery of mental health care. We are so sorry that our services have, in many instances, fallen way short of what we aspire to, and that our patients and families deserve.

“We offer a heartfelt thanks to the service users and carers and our own, and other staff, who have participated in this review and given their valuable feedback with such candour – it is a great help in telling us where we have gone wrong have what we need to do. The vast majority of our staff are dedicated, professional and compassionate. They are the life blood of LCFT and we will work with them, listen to them and support them so that they can deliver our vision, “high quality care in the right place, at the right time, every time.” The CQC found them to be caring, right across the acute care pathway.”

“I am recently appointed to this position and I understand and respect the responsibility attached to it. I am personally committed to making Lancashire Care Foundation Trust an outstanding provider of integrated care. This is a long term goal and it will take time, effort and the extra investment we will receive as part of the national strategy for mental health.  This will support the improvement we must see.”

The review and the results aim to develop future plans for mental health services for the 1.7million people in Lancashire and South Cumbria and look for ways to support Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust, and other mental health providers across the region, to enhance the quality of services for people with mental health conditions.

To download a copy of the report visit