NHS England and Improvement have approved a mental health programme for NHS Norfolk and Waveney (NW) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The aim is to join up organisations providing community mental health services across the health and social care system in the area.
The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership is using mental health transformation funds to improve services for adults and older adults. The funding of just over £2 million will be used to improve access to services for adults with moderate to severe mental health conditions. This will also include those suffering from eating disorders, people in need of mental health rehabilitation, and those with a personality disorder.
The investment will fund new roles such as dedicated mental health practitioners, and recovery support workers based in primary care networks and GP practices. Well-being hubs enabling earlier and easier access to mental health support will also be part-funded.
Melanie Craig, Chief Executive of NWCCG said: "This new investment will allow us to offer faster support and guidance for patients. They will be supported to look after their own needs with support from experts based in their local communities.
“We know that it is easier for people to access services via their GP and this partnership approach will look to address the wider causes of mental ill health, such as housing, employment and social connections. We're delighted to be able to announce such good news for the local area.”
Changing existing services to work differently will also be a key focus for the project, and the model will include health and social care, the voluntary sector and local government (housing). The design of the model is being developed around people who are already using these services, to ensure that their needs and priorities shape the model.
Dr Ardyn Ross, GP and Mental Health Clinical Lead for NWCCG said: "Acceleration of our staff recruitment programme and the development of service plans will begin immediately.
“Additional developments include the opening of our wellbeing hubs across Norfolk and Waveney where people will be able to drop in, without an appointment, to discuss their health and wellbeing, and any issues that are affecting their mental health.
“This will include those experiencing significant mental distress. We are committed to meeting the mental health needs of anyone in Norfolk and Waveney in an open and practical way. This investment is an important step."
Dr Adam Morris, Interim Chief Executive at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) said: “We know that the pandemic has had a severe and lasting impact on the mental health of many people in Norfolk and Waveney.
“Supporting people's mental health needs many organisations to work together. We are looking forward to working with service users, GPs and our voluntary and community organisations to do that.”