PLANS to make changes to crisis mental health services are due to be scrutinised by councillors next week.

Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust is looking to create a single crisis service across its area and close a house specifically used for people whose mental health needs urgent treatment.

Members of Darlington Borough Council's Health and Partnership Scrutiny Committee will be assessing the Trust's proposals on Thursday, August 29.

The trust is looking to merge two separate crisis teams – one covering North Durham and the other South Durham and Darlington – into one unit. They also have a Street Triage Team (STT) who work alongside Durham Constabulary to provide mental health guidance to officers and help them decide the best course of action for people who come into contact with the force.

They are also proposing to close the trust's nine-bed Crisis and Recovery House in Shildon as the number of admissions has dropped significantly in the last few years.

The report going before the committee reads: "In 2017 there were only 88 admissions to the crisis house (with an average length of stay of 11 days) and, on average, less than half the beds were being used at any one time.

"During the same period over 1300 people receive intensive home based treatment in their own home (over 7,700 visits). Between December 17 and May 18 there were no admissions to the crisis and recovery house and staff worked elsewhere within the crisis service, including providing intensive home based treatment. Since May 2018, the average occupancy has been 8.45 per cent."

As result of the potential closure, the trust has estimated that it will save £265,000 a year, which will then be reinvested into other areas of the Crisis Service.

The report concludes: "Detailed consolation and engagement work over the past 12 months has supported the development of a single crisis service for Durham and Darlington, with an increased capacity for intensive home treatment through a non bed based approach.

"Implementation of this will necessitate the closure of the Crisis and Recovery House at Shildon, which currently cannot be efficiently used and does not represent value for money for the majority of service users."

The meeting takes place at Darlington town hall at 9.30am.