Health trust faces £21m budget cuts

BUDGET CHALLENGE Chief executive Steven Michael.
BUDGET CHALLENGE Chief executive Steven Michael.

The district’s mental health trust faces a shake-up of its services as it is hammered with budget cuts of more than £20m over two years.

South West Yorkshire Partnership Foundation Trust must slash £8.7m from its budget this coming financial year and a further £12.7m in 2015/16.

The trust, which runs mental health services in Kirklees and three neighbouring council areas, has begun a review of services to meet savings targets of £21.4m.

Chief executive Steven Michael said all NHS trusts faced tough financial conditions and must make the best use of resources.

He said: “We are meeting local need and are compliant with all regulation, but current ways of working, as is the case for all other providers, are not sustainable and we need to transform.”

Mr Michael said services also had to be reorganised to meet the needs of an ageing population with increasingly complex health problems.

Public events were held in the summer and just before Christmas to consult people who use the trust’s services.

Mr Michael added: “We are undertaking a series of service reviews in our mental health, learning disabilities and health and wellbeing services to ensure we respond to what people tell us is important and support people at the right time, in the right way and in the right place.”

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has raised concerns about the impact of budget cuts on patients.

Its president, Prof Sue Bailey, said: “We are in tough financial times, and there have been many reports of cuts to mental health services up and down the country.

“We know that even small cuts can have a disproportionately large effect on the welfare of our patients, and it is important that mental health services are not seen as an easy target.”