New Safe Haven for adults in crisis launched in Oldham

Oldham Health Check extends to mental health
New Safe Haven for adults in crisis launched in Oldham
01 July 2019

A new crisis care mental health service for adults, called a Safe Haven, was officially opened in Oldham providing out of hours, overnight support in a comfortable environment.

Officially opened on 26 June by Councillor Sean Fielding, Pennine Care’s Safe Haven is based in Forest House at The Royal Oldham Hospital and aims to ensure people can quickly and easily receive the right support, in the right setting, from mental health professionals. The service has already seen 90 patients since it opened its doors in January and the team there take the time to speak to each patient about the issues they’re experiencing and what support could best meet their needs then refer or signpost them to longer-term support.

It offers an alternative for people who previously may have ended up waiting to be seen in an emergency department or admitted to an inpatient ward unnecessarily. The Safe Haven provides a comfortable environment with sofas and space to make a brew and have a chat. Patients who attend their local A&E or are referred by their care-coordinator use it improving their experience and reducing pressure on hospital and urgent care services.

Speaking about the new Safe Haven, Jacqueline Stewart, director for mental health at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This Safe Haven will make a huge difference to the local community. When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis having somewhere safe, calm and comfortable where they can sit and take the time to share everything they’re feeling is so important. We know in the long run this reduces the likelihood of their problems becoming worse and increases the chance of making a full recovery.”

Mark Challender, who has used the service, explained: “After reaching crisis point, 111 told me to attend The Royal Oldham and I felt fearful about what it would be like when I arrived. I was surprised when I came to the Safe Haven – it was such a nice environment with friendly staff. I felt comfortable and the staff couldn’t do enough; helping me to break down my problems and referring me to services such as bereavement counselling. They also offered me practical support the next day which made a big difference – in the days following I actually woke up with a bit of a smile on my face.”

Councillor Sean Fielding, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “Services like the Safe Haven are so important. There is clearly significant demand and providing effective help immediately can be the difference between life and death. When you present with a potential mental health crisis, the last thing you want is to be left to navigate a complex system. Through partnership and services like the Safe Haven we can make this journey as smooth and seamless as possible.”

The Safe Haven was developed by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust in collaboration with Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, the Northern Care Alliance NHS Group (who run The Royal Oldham Hospital) and Oldham Cares (a partnership of the three and Oldham council) with funding from the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.  It’s part of ongoing work to transform mental health services for people in Oldham and Greater Manchester with a second Safe Haven opened in Rochdale.