14/02/2018

Belfast Trust To Take Over Lifeline

Belfast Health and Social Care Trust will take over Lifeline to help people in distress or despair.

The Public Health Agency's (PHA) contract with Contact ends on 31 March.

The PHA offered to extend the contract until 01 April, however this was declined.

In a statement the PHA said: "In order to secure the continuity of the Lifeline Crisis Response Service after expiry of the current contract, the PHA took immediate steps to secure an interim provider from 1st April 2018. We pursued a range of procurement approaches available to us which would have enabled the selection of a suitable service provider with experience in the field of mental health and helpline provision.
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"It has not been possible to appoint a non-statutory sector provider through this process. Instead, the PHA is able to confirm that all necessary arrangements are being made to transition the Lifeline service across to Health and Social Care (HSC) for an interim period, with effect from 1st April 2018. Belfast Health and Social Care Trust will take the lead on behalf of the HSC in delivering this service."

Sinn Féin MLA Orlaithi Flynn welcomed the announcement.

She said: "Sinn Féin had sought this clarity to help provide reassurance to those who use the crisis service and the dedicated staff affected. Hopefully the news will help bring some comfort.

"I have been assured that there will be no disruption to the service and a dedicated project team will oversee the transition, Sinn Féin will continue to monitor any developments with this service.

"I would urge anyone in distress, please still call 080880 88000 to access Lifeline and remember that there is always hope. There is a whole range of supports and services in the community as well with great staff and volunteers willing to help. There is always someone there to listen and help."

(CD/LM)

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