Decision made to extend Sanctuary House mental health respite service

NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council have agreed to extend funding for a mental health respite service near Liskeard for up to three years.

Sanctuary House (also known as Oakleigh House) in Menheniot is funded jointly by NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council through Section 75 pooled funding.

It provides a non-clinical service, and offers respite support for people in pre-crisis aged 18 and older, and who are under the care of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CFT) for their mental health.

The service was reviewed last year to ensure it continued to provide the best possible outcomes for people who use it.

The commissioners – NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council – completed a joint impact assessment to understand the effect the decision to stop funding the service would have on people’s mental health and wellbeing. A decision to no longer fund the service was taken in the context of new developments, including crisis cafes.

Following feedback by, and on behalf of people who use the service, NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council agreed to pause this process.

Yesterday, Wednesday, 3 April, NHS Kernow and Cornwall Council agreed to extend the contract for up to three years to further understand what impact the service has on people’s health and wellbeing.

Dr Iain Chorlton, NHS Kernow chairman, said: “As responsible commissioners we listened to what people had to say about the decision to no longer fund this service, and have now agreed to extend the contract for up to three years.

“This will allow us to really explore the impact the service has on people’s health and wellbeing. We will work with the provider on our longer term plan for mental health services, and will involve its staff, the people who use the service, and their family and carers in any review at least 12 months before the end of the contract. 

“The decision to extend will allow us to conduct an extensive and far-reaching piece of involvement that delves into every aspect of the service, from the clinical benefits to the wellbeing benefits which the service provides and truly learn whether it aids people to live happy, healthy lives.

“As part of our longer term plans to increase investment in mental health services we will be keen to find out how respite services such as those currently provided by Sanctuary House help prevent mental health crisis. As commissioners we want people to work together, to improve access and reduce inequalities.”

“We will continue to work with the provider Re-Gain every step of the way regarding Sanctuary House and would like to thank everyone for their commitment to this service.”

Cllr Rob Rotchell, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for adults said: “This is good news for Oakleigh House, its service users and staff and we will continue to support them to re-define and develop the excellent services offered there.

“Commissioning services is a complex process and we are committed to developing closer working relationships with our health colleagues to deliver better outcomes for all service users in the future”