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Commissioners call for better integration of MH and primary care services

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) has today launched a report to share best practice in embedding mental health into primary health care.

The report, ‘Of primary importance: Commissioning mental health services in primary care’, highlights projects where CCGs and their partners are delivering better patient care by integrating physical and mental health care and social care.

It showcases successful projects, sharing learning to support organisations looking to implement similar projects across primary care.

Among the case studies explored is Community Living Well in West London, a project which helps people living with long-term mental health conditions, and covers a range of psychotherapy sessions, carers therapy and a wellbeing service.

Work in Sheffield includes a project which sees IAPT workers attached to each of the CCG’s 85  practices and incorporated as part of the practice team.

Chair of the NHSCC Mental Health Commissioners Network and deputy chair of Kingston CCG, Dr. Phil Moore, explained the key role that CCGs led by GPs can have in improving mental health services: “Every day in my GP practice I see people who need support with their mental wellbeing, for a wide variety of reasons - sometimes because of a diagnosed condition, other times because they have a physical health problem making them feel more mentally vulnerable.”

He added: “This report looks at experiences of people who have fundamentally changed the model of primary mental healthcare in their area.”

The key pieces of advice for those wanting to implement projects in their own practice areas outlined in the report are: patience; consider partnering with the third sector; build shared understandings with mental health provider; incentives are important; and consider applying other primary care models in a mental health context.

Dr. Moore added: “We hope that by sharing these, along with tips which come directly from their experience, it will support and inspire others who are looking to make change in their own area.”


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