The Isle of Wight NHS Trust has today (Thursday) published the result of months of work with people who use its Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services.
A new strategy has been shaped by feedback from staff, stakeholders in the public, community and voluntary sectors, as well as its partner organisation, Solent NHS Trust.
The Trust say the changes aim to improve the quality of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities services, ensuring they are joined up more effectively, are more resilient and will see an improvement to access and responsiveness.
Made up of three elements
The new model for local mental health and learning disabilities services will deliver an Islandwide network of services made up of three elements based on the severity of needs.
- The Local NETWORK will provide services for people with a low complexity of need which will be based and delivered in local areas alongside partners like GPs and community and voluntary sector organisations.
- The Island HUB will provide community mental health services that are coordinated centrally but delivered in local areas or as an Islandwide service. The Island Hub will provide services for people with moderate and high complexity needs.
- The ACUTE Centre will provide support for the people with the most complex needs and will be managed and delivered centrally from Sevenacres in St Mary’s Hospital in Newport.
The current picture on the Isle of Wight
The Director of Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Service, Dr Lesley Stevens, explained that – similar to the rest of the country – during the Coronavirus crisis there was a rise on the Isle of Wight in the number of people experiencing poor mental health.
Dr Stevens said there is evidence to suggest that Islanders are struggling with mental health in a way they hadn’t been before Covid, and that the Service is seeing people more unwell than before. Under the new policy these Islanders would be supported by teams at the Island Hub or Acute Centre.
Those with milder symptoms still need support
However, it was explained that Islanders with milder depression or anxiety issues – up to a quarter of the population according to recent research – might be less likely to present themselves for help.
Without reaching out for support, some could find their mental health worsening until they reach the point of needing acute care. A new Website launched during lockdown aims to provide support and signposting of Services for those with milder symptoms, before their situation deteriorates.
Investment expected but no figure given
As with NHS Trusts across the country, net investment in Mental Health Services is expected to increase over the next five years.
The new strategy will cost more than services did in the past, but an exact figure was not forthcoming when asked.
It won’t be known until nearer the end of the year exactly how many new staff will be recruited to improve the service, but Dr Stevens explained there was no point throwing money at a problem, if the staff were not there to recruit.
It was said that the overall plan is increase the training and skills of existing staff, as the Trust moves to extend community based services.
Stevens: “All about improving people’s experience”
Dr Stevens said,
“We set out to involve the people who use our services and those who deliver them from the very start and I am delighted that more than 250 people took part in the workshops that helped to shape this new strategy.
“The No Wrong Door model is all about improving people’s experience of mental health and learning disabilities services by making sure that they can access the support they need, when they need it.
“People told us they wanted us to organise our services in a way that makes sure there is a seamless journey if they need to move between services.
“This new way of working will achieve that and we are planning to bring in a single trusted assessment across our services and our partner agencies so that people will only have to tell their story once when accessing services.”
Oldham: An important step on that journey
Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive at Isle of Wight NHS Trust said,
“I am delighted with the progress that we are making in transforming mental health and learning disabilities services for our Island community.
“This new strategy is an important step on that journey and we look forward to what our teams and our partner organisations can achieve in the coming months on behalf of the people who use our services.”
O’Neill: Hope ease of access to services will encourage people to come forward
Dr Dan O’Neill, NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group’s Clinical Lead for Mental Health and Learning Disabilities said,
“We know how important it is for people to be able to access healthcare close to where they live, which is why this new model will be hugely beneficial to those who need that specialist support.
“There is still stigma about needing mental health support and so by providing additional support closer to home, we hope this ease of access to our services will encourage people to come forward and get the right help for them when they need it.”
Orchin: Welcome the integrated approach
Chris Orchin, Chair of Healthwatch Isle of Wight said,
“The No Wrong Door approach represents a major change in the way these services are provided. We welcome the increased emphasis on community provision and integrated approach that should ensure treatment and support is provided quickly when needed.
“We look forward to working with the Trust and partner organisations during the implementation of this model over the coming months”
You can download the full report from the NHS Website or read below.