THERE is good news this week for the future of the Reading Your Way (RYW) mental health service, which offers a day service for people with mental health problems.
The services current contract, which is jointly funded by the Council and the Berkshire West CCGs, is due to expire in April.
Following the announcement by the CCGs in the summer of 2016 to remove their share of the service’s funding, the Council was left with very little option. Budget pressures caused by Government cuts in funding meant the Council was regrettably not in a position to support RWY on its own.
However, following the Council’s public consultation with people who use RYW and their families, the Council and its CCG partners have met to discuss options for the continuation of this service and a way forward has been found.
Cllr Rachel Eden, Reading’s Lead Member for Adult Social Care, said: “I’m delighted that following our consultation with service users, we now understand our NHS partners have agreed to commit their half of the funding.
“Thanks to the new situation, this vital mental health service can continue. I’m sure this news will be a huge relief to all the people who use and highly value, this service.”
“Unfortunately, due to major government funding cuts, the Council could not continue to support the existing service on its own. In those circumstances we would need to look to how we could make the most of our limited resources, whilst maximizing the benefit to users of the mental health services.
“However, in partnership with the Berkshire West CCGs, we are more than happy to commit to our ongoing contribution of the funding and also continue to provide RYW with rent free premises, as we have done for several years.”
Cllr Graeme Hoskin, Lead Member for Health and the Council’s Mental Health Champion, said: “I welcome the positive news that a way forward has been found for the Reading Your Way Service. Despite the challenge of massive cuts to council budgets, we are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our community and to improving the services available so that adults affected by mental health needs can access timely help and enjoy healthy and fulfilling lives.”