June 24, 2024

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Concern over closure of mental health service

2 min read
Shropshire Beam

The Shropshire Beam service, in Wellington, began in 2017

Concern has been raised about the closure of an emotional health and wellbeing service and the potential impact on young people who use it.

Shropshire Beam supports under 25’s in Telford and Wrekin, but it is set to close next month after losing its NHS funding.

It had been an “invaluable service” to the area since 2017, but funding will end on 30 April, said The Children’s Society which runs it.

The NHS said in February it was finalising a new contract for children and young people’s mental health services which would reduce waiting times.

Beam offers a drop-in service on Market Square in Wellington between 10:00 and 14:00 GMT on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Abby Cappleman, a member of the Young People’s Forum, believes the service could end next month, so extra funds could instead be used for reducing the waiting list for the BeeU Emotional Health and Wellbeing Service.

‘A car crash coming’

Speaking to councillors at a Telford and Wrekin Council health and wellbeing board meeting on Thursday, Miss Cappleman said Beam had provided “low level early intervention” for the last seven years.

She said the loss of the service would have a “dramatic effect” on people in the borough.

“It’s a car crash coming,” she said, “Beam was set up by young people for young people. There is anger from young people who are going to lose their friends and an essential service is being lost.

“We are going to lose lives because of it,” she added.

In response Simon Whitehouse, chief executive for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin NHS, said that conversations about Beam would happen.

The Midlands Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin said: “From April 2024, we will see the [BeeU] service enhance their offer, with additional investment, MPFT will generate extra capacity by growing the BeeU team and will develop the prevention offer available in schools and communities.

“These changes aim to prioritise a reduction in the number of children waiting, and the length of time they wait for access to appropriate assessment and support.”

This news was gathered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service which covers councils and other public service organisations.

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