So the vision for the new service is that by the middle to end of next year we’ve rolled out a new way of working across Suffolk and that mental health services are much more integrated with our physical health services particularly within primary care which is actually when most mental health is seen and supported and that actually that we are as staff members much more in tune and understanding of how other members work.
The ideas that were in different silos still mean that the journey for patients is often disjointed and certainly from the work from the early adopter already the benefits that patients and actually me as a as a GP are getting from talking to our mental health nurses having regular meetings with them discussing patients in our multidisciplinary team meetings it’s about that sort of sharing of knowledge and understanding and being sensitive to how other staff members work. And it being age inclusive so that we’re not offering a different service to young people as we do to old people so we have a really big journey to make sure the staff are bought into this but it is about supporting people closer to their homes and working in a more integrated fashion which is what we all want to achieve for our patients.
So for service users with mental health issues the stories that we get from them time and time again is it’s very hard to get access to help particularly when they feel they need it and also having to tell their story several times to different practitioners and the mainstays of change that we really want to grasp is that ability to be pointed in the right place right from the word go. We’re able to use technology to support this a lot more now so rather than phoning lots of different services we can use the internet and care navigators to really start to make sure people get to the right place, because there are lots of bits to the system to help people with mental health problems. And also by having a much more enhanced team within the GP and primary care setting it means that patients will be known to a team rather than having to tell their story multiple times and then that team is able to draw on the expertise it needs to support that individual.
I see the opportunities as really getting to grips with the agenda that physical and mental health is are not separate entities and I know mental health staff have always understood how to support people to live well but this is about putting your money where your mouth is an really getting to grips with those people who have significant long term conditions and really beginning to work together so that only those with severe and complex mental health needs are accessing the very specialist services that we want to keep for those purposes, we know it’s very dissatisfying for staff to be seeing lots of people and working incredibly hard but not feeling that you’re supporting the right people or giving them the right help. So we want to be able to use voluntary sector workers and our community staff workers, social prescribing so that a lot of the support work can be done and then the complex work and the difficult work and the work around supporting people to really manage their severe mental illness can be done by those most specially trained.
So over the next few months it’s really important that we’re engaging frontline grassroots workers like yourselves and our stakeholders and patients and users to inform how we really move forward and get motoring with the work that’s already started there’s plenty of opportunity to go online and do the surveys and be involved, certainly moving along to next year when we’re really going to start pushing the roll out of the of the new service around June to July 2020 which is our aim to get the service up and up and running by then.
So I do want to say a personal thank you to all the staff on the ground, I know it’s not been easy there’s been a lot of changes across Suffolk in the last few years and it is your work that means that these patients get excellent care and we want you to be part of this journey and we want you to shape these services and help us to deliver the best care possible for our residents of Suffolk.
You can find more information on the #averydifferentconversation workforce page.