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Blog headlines

  • Mental health in dementia patients costs £500 million a year
    2 June 2016

    In our blogs we have been exploring the importance of developing models of care which integrate physical and mental health. Joined-up care is essential for people with long-term conditions like dementia who have myriad needs.

  • Why good data must underpin mental health care
    2 June 2016

    Ambitious new models of care which integrate mental and physical healthcare are being spearheaded by the NHS Vanguards as part of the NHS Five Year Forward View. But how effective will service redesign be without in depth mental health data at its core?

  • NHS vanguards leading mental health integration
    2 June 2016

    The NHS Vanguards are rapidly gathering momentum to transform and integrate mental healthcare.

  • No health without mental health
    2 June 2016

    In his new role as NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health, Professor Tim Kendall has highlighted the unprecedented opportunity to ensure parity between mental health and physical health.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

NHS vanguards leading mental health integration

The NHS Vanguards are rapidly gathering momentum to transform and integrate mental healthcare.

Nine integrated primary and acute care system vanguards are working on joining up GP, hospital, community and mental health services so that mental and physical health care will be on a equal footing in these local areas.

These are just a handful of the NHS Vanguards, which as part of NHS England’s Five Year Forward View, have been selected to road test new innovative models of care intended to transform how services are delivered nationwide.

All of the different care approaches below focus on patient pathways which intertwine physical and mental health, giving mental health the parity of esteem it deserves:

Salford Together Vanguard intends to create an Integrated Care Organisation which will give Salford Royal lead responsibility for meeting the health and social care needs of the population through both direct provision and contracts with other local providers. This vanguard will combine health and care services for the entire adult population, including preparation to transfer Adult Social Care services to Salford Royal and to establish arrangements for adult and older peoples’ mental health services.

The Salford area is part of the Greater Manchester devolution of powers and health budget away from central to local government. This began on 1 April 2016, and means control of the £6 billion health budget for this population of 2.8 million now rests on joint local decision-making, which will be targeted at integration of care to support all physical, mental and social wellbeing needs.

North East Hampshire and Farnham Vanguard will focus on the development of an integrated health, social care and wellbeing system which will put the person at the centre of their care. NHS and social care services will share resources and skills to support people to stay healthy and well at home. Care will be provided by local multi-disciplinary teams working together, across physical and mental health services and in partnership with the voluntary sector to provide a personalised service.

Harrogate and Rural District Clinical Commissioning Group Vanguard is creating community hubs which are accessible to patients 24/7 and will be staffed by an integrated team including mental health professionals. Patients can access this in a time of crisis instead of defaulting to A&E and will have a universal care plan that everyone involved in their care will share.

Leicestershire and Rutland is a bit different – it is an urgent and emergency care vanguard, which, as we have reported previously, has implemented a number of care options for patients including a crisis response team which combines social, physical and mental health services.

Like the Harrogate Vanguard, the aim is to create hubs – these will seamlessly combine all urgent care services so that there is one point of contact for patients in crisis. Their goal is that wherever a patient accesses urgent services, they will have the facilities and staff in place who can treat any mental health issues with the same priority as physical ones.

It is the dedication and passion of health and social care professionals and commissioners in these vanguard sites which is driving forward huge changes to deliver mental health care in new, more integrated ways. This won’t be easy though - they face many challenges, especially commissioning without adequate mental health data to benchmark services. There is a real dearth of good quality national data for mental health. How far will they get without the good data intelligence needed to truly understand the local population’s needs?

About the Author

Sarah Mehta has a varied background in health writing and developing materials for patient, professional and commissioner audiences, and now supports the NHiS team with their activities. Sarah initially worked as a medical writer for physician audiences and then moved to the voluntary sector with roles at the MS Society and Sense About Science focused on communicating evidence based medicine and research to the public in creative ways.

Having developed an interest in neurological conditions, Sarah joined Neurological Commissioning Support (NCS) and was responsible for marketing, communications and digital activities aimed at engaging NHS commissioners. Much of her work has involved meeting patients and professionals to better understand the challenges they experience in staying well / keeping their patients well.

More recently Sarah completed a certificate in science communication at Stellenbosch University in South Africa. During that time she guest blogged for a number of organisations including the World Health Organization and she also currently writes for the British Journal of Neuroscience Nursing.