Council committee told of higher than average death rates for dementia sufferers and rises in “urgent” mental health conditions

The amount of East Riding dementia patients on local NHS registers has fallen by around 300 due to coronavirus amid rises in “urgent” mental health conditions.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 8:22 am
The committee heard dementia patients on local NHS registers has fallen by around 300 due to coronavirus amid rises in “urgent” mental health issues.

East Riding Council’s Health, Care and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Sub-Committee heard higher than average death rates for dementia sufferers and the suspending of memory assessments led to the fall.

Neil Griffiths, of the NHS’s East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), told councillors the amount of those on dementia registers would normally increase.

Councillors also heard local mental health doctors were seeing more patients coming forward in “crisis” states and with more complex conditions including psychosis. It comes as the committee heard updates from NHS officials on how local mental health services had coped with the pandemic and efforts being made to restore normal operations.

Councillors heard the amount of people coming in with mental health conditions was broadly at the rate expected for this time of year.

But they also heard more older people were coming forward and increases in complex cases came after less were able to access services during coronavirus lockdowns.

Councillors also heard the East Riding faced higher than average suicide rates among men, a trend which began before the pandemic.

Mr Griffiths said the majority of those who take their own lives were not known to mental health services.

He added the CCG had also launched a dedicated eating disorder service, with one for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) its next priority.

Lynn Parkinson, of the Humber NHS Foundation Trust which runs local mental health services, told councillors the last two months had also seen a “surge” in children’s cases.

Ms Parkinson said: “It may be that we’ve reached the peak but we’re watching the situation closely as we approach winter and will continue to into next year.”

Paula South, also of the CCG, told councillors staff recruitment drives were underway as workforce shortages were the “biggest pressure” on the NHS currently.

Ms South said: “Finance is less of an issue for us, we would have the money to recruit the staff if the people existed.

“Coronavirus had made some people think about a career in the NHS, but it’s a tough job. Recruitment campaigns are widespread, they’re not just in mental health services.”