A healthcare chief executive has stressed how vital it is to have the right mental health services in Dorset after hearing about a local girl who had to be sent to Manchester to get the right care.
Dorset HealthCare boss Ron Shields has responded to the girl’s parents after they described driving nearly 28,000 to see their daughter during her stays in psychiatric intensive care units as far afield as Manchester, Kent and Surrey.
The trust’s existing Pebble Lodge inpatient unit, which is rated outstanding by the CQC, doesn’t have enough beds for the Bournemouth and Dorset young people who need them.
A planning application to expand the facilities for young people at Dorset HealthCare’s Alumhurst Road site in Bournemouth is being considered by the Bournemouth Council planning board on Monday (19 November).
In a letter to the Trust board, the local couple said: “If only our daughter could have walked through a door to the right care, instead of being terrified as she entered a secure ambulance to face a six-hour journey, what a difference that would have made to her.
“If we were on a lower income, had other young children, and no friends to lean on, we would have had long gaps where we just could not see our daughter, or get to know the professionals caring for her.
“Her stays in remote PICUs would have been longer and her mental health slower to stabilise. The pain and anguish was tough enough in our fairly positive circumstances – I think in a different situation my own mental health would have suffered too.”