Southern Health has partnered with a number of other local NHS Trusts and health organisations to secure several million pounds of additional funding for local mental health services in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
Working in partnership with Hampshire commissioners and the three Hampshire acute hospitals - University Hospitals Southampton NHS Foundation Trust (UHS), Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT) and Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (HHFT) – Southern Health has successfully bid for national funds* to increase psychiatric liaison (mental health in-reach) into in Hampshire’s four acute general hospitals.
A liaison mental health service already exists at Southampton General, Portsmouth’s Queen Alexandra, Royal Hampshire County Hospital and Basingstoke North Hampshire Hospitals – but the new funding will allow the service to develop in a more coordinated way (to reduce variation across Hampshire) by having similar models and recruiting additional staff to expand the assessment and care offered to patients.
It will result in four psychiatric liaison teams, based on-site at each hospital operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week and aiming to see adults requiring mental health support within one hour of an emergency department referral.
Southern Health’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Karl Marlowe, commented: “Additional specialist staff will mean that patients in A&E and on wards won’t have to wait as long for a mental health assessment. This will mean less time spent in hospital and will significantly improve the quality of holistic health care while in an acute hospital setting. The strengthened teams will also be able to develop care plans and organise appropriate follow up, post discharge, in a more timely way. As well as offering an improved service to patients, the bolstered teams will also be able to provide advice and training to other professionals in the acute hospitals, about the management of patients’ mental health problems.”
Dr Vicki Osman-Hicks, Director of Psychiatric Liaison, added: “All the acute hospitals, commissioners and liaison teams have enthusiastically worked together to better design and fund services for people with mental health problems in general hospitals. This will enable high quality care for people who need us and also offer exciting employment opportunities for a range of health professionals across Hampshire to join the teams.”
In addition to the funding for improved psychiatric liaison services, Southern Health has also worked with partners to secure a further £1.1 million** to invest in community-based crisis mental health services.
The Trust linked with local commissioners across Southampton, Portsmouth and Hampshire, plus the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Solent NHS Trust, and several local charities - Solent Mind, Havant Mind and Two Saints on the Isle of Wight.
The new money will see greater investment in peer support workers (people who have themselves experienced mental health problems) as well as nurses and medical staff in community teams. It will also enable more joined up services so that operating hours can be increased.
Jenny Erwin, Director of Commissioning for Mental Health commented: “We are delighted that additional funding has been secured to enhance the support available to those experiencing mental health crisis, including the provision of new services through the voluntary sector that can offer an alternative to hospital admission.”
* The Wave 2 Liaison Mental Health Transformation Fund (TF) is provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement and seeks to continue the expansion of liaison mental health services across the country.
** This funding is being provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement’s Community Crisis Care Transformation Funding to implement community-based crisis mental health provision within localities across the country.