Wife’s anger over changes to husband’s mental health appointments

health fears: Karen Leech and husband Alan are concerned about services moving from Ryhope to Doxford Park.

health fears: Karen Leech and husband Alan are concerned about services moving from Ryhope to Doxford Park.

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A WIFE fears her husband’s severe mental health problems will be made worse after the location of his psychiatric appointments was moved.

Alan Leech, 47, has for the past seven years received treatment for bipolar, anxiety and psychosis at the Wellfield Clinic, adjacent to the new Hopewood Park hospital in Ryhope.

He’ll be out of his comfort zone when he has to go to a different place and I think it’s bang out of order.

Karen Leech, whose husband Alan suffers from mental health problems

But from the beginning of next month, Alan’s appointments will be at a new site in Doxford International Business Park, almost four miles away from where he was being seen.

Bosses at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust have said that where patients are seen is determined on an individual basis and that they will be happy to talk with Alan about where is most suitable for him.

Alan’s wife Karen today told the Echo that the change could have a detrimental effect on Alan and others who suffer from similar conditions.

“As long as he is kept in the same regime he is fine,” said Karen, 51, who lives with her husband in Ford Estate in Sunderland.

“But if anything changes it can really affect him.

“He’ll be out of his comfort zone when he has to go to a different place and I think it’s bang out of order.”

As well as his mental health issues, Alan has suffered four heart attacks and also has chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Karen is now calling on Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, who are the NHS trust for mental health care on Wearside, to provide facilities at the existing Hopewood Park site.

“Personally, I think they should be keeping all of the mental health community together.

“If my dog is ill, I don’t take it to the butchers, I take it to the vets.

“I don’t think there’s been any thought put into this and they’ve put profit first.”

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s group nurse director for community services, Elizabeth Moody, said: “The team base for NTW South Community Treatment Team has recently moved to Doxford Park as part of Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust’s continued work to improve community services for the residents of Sunderland.

“The new base is a bespoke development; service users and carers were heavily involved in the design process and the environment has greatly improved waiting and consultation areas.

“The choosing of this location reflects that the vast majority of people want to be seen in their own localities.

“Community patients can be seen at the new base; however, where patients are seen is determined on an individual basis which includes patient choice.

“We will be happy to follow this matter up with the individual to facilitate a suitable place for their clinical sessions.”