Fears over loss of health services in Scarborough

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Campaigners who have been fighting to save an under-threat mental health service in Scarborough have warned that its closure will cost lives.

The No 2 Trafalgar Square service is being shut down by North Yorkshire County Council, who say the building is unsuitable for public use. Now a user of the service, who set up a petition to save it securing hundreds of signatures, has spoken publicly about what a lifeline it is.

“This is a crisis waiting to happen,” said Jade Moody, 24. “They say people will continue to have access, but I don’t see how it’s possible. I dread to think what will happen when it’s shut down. People won’t be able to cope.”

It was announced in July that the No2 Trafalgar Square service is to close with a date set for Friday.

The building is no longer fit for purpose, NYCC has said, and patients will be able to access services at other community bases.

But Miss Moody, who suffers from anxiety and has been getting help since she was 16, says more needs to be done to ensure users are given the help they need.

“I’m starting to struggle a bit and I think that’s in knowing it’s not going to be there,” she said. “The council just see it as an office. They have said that everyone who gets help will continue to do so - they will get help but it won’t be the same.

“They say people will continue to have access to service, but I don’t see how it’s possible. People are in crisis and they won’t know where to go. We need to keep it open. We need more answers.”

She says the service has been downgraded over recent years.

“When I first started going they did respite as well, so people could stay there for a few months after hospital to make sure they were ready to go home,” she said.

“I could go there for a night every week. You could ring them until 10pm if you were struggling. You need that constant.

“With anxiety, you can be stable for a long time and then something just happens to set you back. You don’t know when that’s going to be, how bad, or how long it’s going to last.

“None of us knew the closure was coming. It stopped being a 24-hour service months ago. But up until now, you could still ring a worker from 9am to 5pm which is better than waiting.”

A spokesman for NYCC said the service only provides a small number of drop-in sessions.

Its use as an office base for staff providing community support will be transferred to other bases.

“The building no longer meets expected standards for accommodation and accessibility,” he said. “It is the building that will close at the end of September not the service.

“The existing community support service as it is now will continue. Anyone who is currently receiving support will continue to do so.”

Community resources are being identified for drop­-in sessions, he added.

“Those receiving support have been told of the building closing and how their ongoing needs will continue to be met.

“Following a formal staff consultation process, some existing staff have chosen to leave the service and others are staying with the service, so there will, in some cases, be a change of support worker.

“Understandably, this change will cause concerns and anxiety but all individuals will be supported through the change in arrangements.

“NYCC is investing additional resources into this community service, increasing the capacity by 100 per cent. It will take a little while to achieve full capacity while new staff are recruited.”