Improving access to community mental health services in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire
We published our Clinical Services Strategy in 2017, following a review which saw much input from patients, carers, family members, clinicians and partner organisations. The strategy provides us with the foundations for what our mental health and learning disability services will look like in the future, and has led on to the transformation work we are carrying out across the whole Trust.
Community Mental Health Services in East Hampshire
One key element of our Clinical Services Strategy was to look at how people access our mental health services. This needs to improve and, to do this, colleagues from another NHS Trust, Northumberland Tyne and Wear (which went through a similar transformation programme several years ago and is now recognised as outstanding) - is supporting and working alongside us to develop a better system.
We are working with our colleagues at Solent NHS Trust and our local NHS commissioners to achieve this in a truly collaborative way.
Our initial focus was on adult and older people’s community and acute mental health services in East Hampshire and Portsmouth.
We hosted a series of four workshops throughout 2018. These workshops had involvement from around 300 people, from staff working in the services, alongside those with lived experience, either as a patient, close family or friend of a patient, and people from partner agencies. The workshops will be an opportunity to look at every step of the patient journey - starting with ‘access’. Whilst the initial focus will be East Hampshire and Portsmouth, the approach will be used for similar work in other areas, tailored to each locality and its needs in the future.
Following analysis of all the feedback and workshop outputs, senior staff from Southern Health, Solent NHS Trust and local Clinical Commissioning Groups met over two days to debate and decide on the next steps, before presenting their plans to some of the service users and carers from the workshop groups.
In the next six months, we will be bringing the two crisis mental health teams working for Southern Health and Solent in Portsmouth and South East Hampshire together, to create a single service model that will improve responsiveness and consistency of service. We have developed a programme of change that will meet the main concerns we heard, to achieve improvements such as 24/7 availability, reducing variations in service, enabling self-referrals to allow people to define their own crisis, and opening the service to carers and family members.