Focus on SMI checks with John Roberts – Transformation Programme Q&A

John Roberts is the Service Manager of the Stoke Community Directorate, and is one of the leads in the Trust on the work of SMI (Severe Mental Illness) Physical and Mental Health Checks – a priority area of work in our delivery of the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme. We talked to John about his role and work within the Programme.

Could you tell us more about your work on the Programme? 

Being new into the post of Service Manager for the Stoke Community Directorate, this project was something that was already underway with really encouraging progress having been made. My role specifically has firstly been to better understand the national and local drivers for this project, and secondly to support and empower the team to achieve the objectives that had been set. Essentially this work is about us – Combined Healthcare working collaboratively with our Primary Care colleagues to improve the way in which we undertake physical and mental health checks for those service users who have been identified as living with a severe and enduring mental illness.

What are you most excited about for this Programme? 

A really exciting part of this Programme for me is our ability to improve the ‘parity of esteem’ feelings that so many of us hold – essentially the need for mental health to be given equal priority to physical health. There is lots of reallypositive work going on at the minute and, now more so than ever, this work is happening collaboratively across a number of different agencies who are all signed up and committed to developing our Integrated Care System that works for all.

What are your highlights of the Programme work undertaken so far in your area? 

An area of need from the outset was to improve the way in which we capture and collate the data that we were getting from the physical and mental health checks. A 33-page, paper document was soon streamlined in to an electronic form added to our existing electronic patient records system, Lorenzo. This was an essential change which really has improved efficiencies. Open, honest and fruitful conversations with our GP practice colleagues has been another highlight that I feel this programme has provided us with a platform for; from jointly reviewing our SMI registers, to identifying and training needs that we may be able to help one another with.

What’s coming next? 

This collaborative working approach is certainly something that we will continue to embrace and build upon; there is so much value to be had in working together and this only feels like the start. We are in a great position with the newly developed ARRS roles (Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme), whereby we now have senior mental health practitioners working within our Primary Care Networks to once again enhance the support that we are able to provide to not only the individual GP practices within that PCN, but more importantly to improve the service user’s journey of recovery from within their local area.

How can people find out more information about the Trust’s work in the Programme?

We now have a designated email address to ask questions or provide feedback.  Please don’t hesitate to get in touch,

We’ll continue to update through our communications, corporate social media channels on Twitter and Facebookpodcasts and other means.

You can also view our section of the Programme’s web pages at