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Shadow Public Health Minister praises mental health support scheme in Liverpool

Luciana Berger MP on her visit to supported housing schemeAn innovative Liverpool housing scheme that helps people with mental health needs avoid unnecessary stays in hospital has been praised by the Shadow Minister for Public Health.

Luciana Berger described the accommodation and support at St Michael’s in Aigburth as a “shining example” of what can be achieved when the NHS, social care and housing work together.

The specialist development, which supports up to 12 people, is the result of a partnership between national social care charity Community Integrated Care, Mersey Care NHS Trust, Liverpool Housing Trust (LHT) and Liverpool City Council.

Offering short-term housing and support, the service acts as an important stepping stone for people with mental health concerns leaving hospital before moving back to living independently in their own homes.

By helping to ensure that people do not spend more time than they need in hospital, the service has both improved quality of life and also reduced demand on local NHS resources.

Liverpool Wavertree MP Ms Berger said: “It’s been my pleasure to meet the tenants living at this scheme and to hear first-hand how it is helping them to get back on their feet.

“For many people with less acute mental health needs, hospital is not the right environment for their recovery and this service is a shining example of what can be achieved when the NHS, social care and housing work together to create solutions.

“I am delighted that the local care and housing sector in Merseyside has created such an innovative approach to reducing demand on the NHS, while at the same time improving people’s wellbeing.”

As well as providing housing support, the service focuses on improving tenants’ life skills, helping to rebuild their confidence by reconnecting them with the community, their family and friends, and creating networks of support.

This helps the tenants to successfully return to living with independence and good health, reducing the likelihood of their readmission to hospital in the future.

Diane Williams, Regional Manager for Community Integrated Care, said: “We are delighted to have been able to create this important community service, which ensures that people with mental health needs do not need to stay in hospital longer than necessary.

“This has the dual benefit of making sure that people get the support which is right for them and ensuring that vital NHS resources  are used in the best way possible.”

Ms Berger’s visit coincided with Housing Day, a national event celebrating the positive impact of social housing on thousands of people across the UK.

Donna Kelly, Director of Housing and Wellbeing at LHT, part of Symphony Housing Group, added: “It was a really positive experience to meet so many happy tenants who told us about the difference this scheme has made to their lives.

“The scheme would not have happened without the support of all the partners involved.”

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