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Care project brings patients ‘closer to home’

Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt

A MENTAL health rehabilitation and recovery project in Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Ceredigion has brought mental health patients closer to home and saved the local health board more than £500,000 per annum, the Finance Minister said today (Oct 7). The scheme is being highlighted as one of many Invest to Save schemes that has helped deliver better front-line services to people and save the public sector money. Finance and Government Business Minister Jane Hutt has today launched the next round of Invest to Save funding with over £20m available for new investments in 2015-16.

The successful fund helps public sector organisations deliver improvements to front-line services across Wales and generate cash efficiency savings. Since the fund was launched in 2009, the total value of investments made by the Fund stands at almost £100m, benefitting 94 projects. Jane Hutt said: “This fund is a major success story for Wales through projects like the Mid and West Wales Mental Health Rehabilitation and Recovery Reconfiguration. Independent research has shown that the fund delivers a gross return of £3 for every £1 invested and is helping organisations across Wales to deliver vital improvements to public services across all areas of the public sector. “That is why we are investing over £20m in 2015-16 so that organisations can continue to achieve their ambition of releasing savings and improving services.

In a time of scarce funds, organisations need to work together to become more resourceful. The Invest to Save Fund will play a key role in assisting to address the financial and effective service delivery challenges we all face.” The mental health project built on work developed by Hywel Dda Local Health Board to focus on delivering care “closer to home” and return people with mental health issues from high cost placements outside of their local area.

Some were being treated in England. As a result of the Invest to Save Funding, building on an existing platform and intervention model, the project received a significant boost allowing it to decommission a longterm rehabilitation ward deemed unfit for purpose and invest the savings to deliver a range of actions including: The growth of accommodation to support repatriation of out-of-area parents;

Development of local mental health services including alternatives to inpatient care such as a therapeutic day service and crisis accommodations options; Considering options for older adults and community provision; and, Opening of a Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit and Acute “Assess to Admit” Unit in 2012. The £564,000 “pump-priming” Invest to Save project, which helped improve mental health services in Mid and West Wales, ran from 2010-13 and resulted in 30 people being “brought home” for their care, where they were nearer their families.

The savings in travel costs and time were re-invested into core service budgets including investment in staff and the creation of more bed spaces. Additional benefits were reduced length of stay as a result of patients being close to home and family and providing a Welsh language environment. The Invest to Save part of the £2m service helped generate annual savings from 2010-11 of £541,000. Jane Hutt said: “The Mental Health Rehabilitation and Recovery Reconfiguration project is a great example of how Invest to Save Funding can drive efficiency savings and improve services. I encourage public sector organisations to find out more and bid for the new round of investment.” Applications for the 2014 bidding round have been opened and expressions of interest are sought by 7 January.