Sunday, 24 May 2015

The Tans Restaurant

The Tans restaurant and the service it provides, helping people as it does with mental health problems through work and training, is clearly one that means a lot to many people. I have met with some of those affected and had surgeries with constituents and as a result made written representations to both the NHS Trust and the County Council.

Whilst I can understand the Council and Trust need to ensure they get value for money for the services they provide, it does seem a very blunt instrument for the Council to simply withdraw funding.
This is what the Council have said on the issue:

“They also serve a diminishing number of people, now supporting only about a quarter of the number of service users they were designed for. We are now embarking on individual reviews with the current service users and their families, discussing with them both existing alternative services in West Northumberland which could support them to become more independent and new services currently under development.

For some people, the option of individually designed support arrangements using personal budgets may be the best option, and we will be offering advice about how this could work. No date has been agreed for closing these schemes, and no date will be set until the right alternatives have been found for all current service users and arrangements have been made for the staff working in the schemes. We recognise that the Tans restaurant has been a popular part of Hexham life for a long time, and if those involved wish to explore keeping it open on a different basis, the council would be able to talk to them about sources of advice.

But the most important priority for the council and NTW is opening up new opportunities for people whose lives have been disrupted by mental illness.”

I have now asked the County Council's senior officers and the Trust to investigate if there are other ways this service can continue, or at least if transitional arrangements can be put in place.
You can read more about the issue here: