Local people are being asked to give their views about proposed options which will see improvements to services for those experiencing serious mental illness in Dorset.

Starting on 1 February, the consultation will run until 31 March 2017. It will ask for views on a number of options which have been developed in partnership with people who use mental health services and their carers, local clinicians, people who work in mental health services, local authorities and the voluntary sector. They have been developed with a view to helping prevent crisis, and enabling people to be supported better to help manage crises if they do arise. Proposals include:

  • Increasing inpatient beds by 16 so that people can access them earlier and to stop people being  placed out of Dorset
  • The introduction of community front rooms – safe places to go when things start to go wrong, based in familiar settings within the community
  • Creation of Retreats – safe places where people can get the right treatment and support when they need it, located with community mental health teams
  • Improvements to 24/7 crisis telephone line to include a new service called Connection

These options allow people access to places and services at evenings and weekends.

Consultation documents, along with a short questionnaire, will be widely available across the county, including at:

  • GP surgeries
  • Community Mental Health Team offices
  • St Ann’s Hospital
  • Forston Clinic
  • The Linden Unit at Westhaven Hospital

An online version is available at www.dorsetsvision.nhs.uk, or copies can be requested via involve@dorsetccg.nhs.uk and 01202 541946.

To help gather views a number of events have been organised, starting with a drop-in event at Bournemouth Library on Wednesday 8 February between 11am-3pm.

Paul French, Local GP and Clinical Lead for mental health and learning disabilities with NHS Dorset CCG, said: “Having worked hard with local service users, carers and clinicians I am delighted that we are now able to start seeking views on our proposals, which I believe will see real improvements to mental health services in Dorset.

“Over the coming weeks I would encourage everyone who has either used mental health services, knows someone who has, or simply has a view, to find out more and have their say.”