Combined part of multi-million-pound programme to transform community mental health services

Ambitious plans to transform community mental health services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent have been given the green light after securing a multi-million-pound investment.

The £3.5million funding will help to create a new proactive model of community-based mental health care, with mental health trusts – including North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust – working in partnership with primary care, local authorities, the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector, service users, families and carers.

Partners from across the local health and social care system worked collaboratively on the bid submission, which has now been approved by NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The focus over the next three years will be to use the investment to transform community mental health care by creating fully integrated teams of health, social care and voluntary and community staff to work in new ways, with the support of people with lived experience to deliver services that more effectively meet the needs of local communities.

Marcus Warnes, Accountable Officer for the six CCGs in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, said: “The provision of mental health services is a key priority for all partners and although we have made significant improvements over the last three years, we know there is more we need to do to put mental health services on an equal footing with physical health services.

“This is an ambitious programme that aims to transform our local offer and will build on the collaborative working we have established across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, with partners working together to improve the mental health and well-being of the local population.”

Jonathan O’Brien, Director of Operations and Deputy Chief Executive Officer, North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust, and Programme Director for the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme, said: “Through the programme’s partnership delivery, our collaborative approach will be to transform local mental health services to ensure they are fully inclusive, accessible and responsive to the needs of local people.

“This programme involves a wide range of key stakeholders throughout Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, and we look forward to our ongoing collaboration to drive this transformation forward for the benefit of the local population.” 

The NHS Long Term Plan sets out an ambitious programme of investment and transformation for mental health services over the period 2019-2024.

In the last three years, much has already been achieved for mental health across the six Clinical Commissioning Groups in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent with partners delivering many improvements and overseeing the expansion of the workforce across mental health services.

Neil Carr, Chief Executive of Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said: “The NHS locally has seen substantial investment in early intervention in psychosis, individual placement and support services and physical health checks for people with serious mental illness.

“This hugely important investment presents a fantastic opportunity to reimagine how we provide community mental health services locally for the benefit of local people. I’m particularly delighted that colleagues in the voluntary and community sector locally, alongside people with lived experience will be playing a critical role in determining how these services should be delivered.”

It is recognised there is still a long way to go to ensure mental health services are expanded, improved and achieve parity of esteem with physical health services.

Gary Jones, Chief Executive of Support Staffordshire said: “We are really heartened by the partnership approach thus far in the development of this opportunity and cannot wait to see the improved outcomes for residents when we all work together, playing to our strengths and working as equal partners’.”