Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Friday, 23 November 2012

The amazing work of Elysian House

As a member of the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I visited Elysian House in Colindale, not far from the station. I visited with the chair of the committee, Cllr Alison Cornelius, a fellow Labour member of the committee, Cllr Julie Johnson and her husband, Cllr Geoff Johnson, who is a ward Councillor in Colindale.

Its common to be either impressed or unimpressed on a visit, but rare to be moved. Today, I was thoroughly moved by visiting this house.

Elysian House is a recovery centre for people with mental health issues. It is usually a halfway point between hospital and home, or a refuge for people when times get too tough for them. Designed like a hotel, but with a more homely feel, it is a place for patients to recover and re-learn their old lives, and get them ready and prepared to go back home. It has quiet areas, TV areas, a big kitchen, activities and large rooms, which seem to be a real effort to meet the various needs of patients, such as double beds.

They have a hugely caring and loving staff, who are passionate and committed individuals. Extremely well trained, and offering international leadership in outpatient services for those who have had breakdowns. They do everything they can  for their patients, and show what is best practice is. I hope this becomes the national model.

We spoke to a service user, who happened to be a constituent of mine in East Finchley, and it is very clear that Elysian house is making a huge difference for its users. I was very moved talking to them, and I can see how important this service is to a successful recovery. They have excellent statistics, and re-admission rates are low. It's amazing, that just like the primary care strategy, there are things you can do that both cut costs and are of huge benefit to patients.

I understand there is a similar facility on Fortis Green, and I would like to arrange a visit there as well, to see how the smaller facility there operates. I am hugely impressed with the service, and I wish them great success in rolling out their delivery model accross the country the world.