The launch of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust's Home Engagement and Rehabilitation Team

NHS mental health pilot set for expansion following initial success

A pilot mental health service in the north west could be set for an expansion after its first eight months was heralded a success.

The service comes in the form of the Home Engagement and Rehabilitation Team (HEART) at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) which was set up to reduce reliance on mental health services and promote eventual independence.

From its initial launch last June to the February of this year, HEART has dedicated up to 2,500 hours of support to 15 patients, with six service users able to achieve successful discharge from long-term hospital stays and a further four expected to join them within the next quarter.

HEART provides intensive support to patients with complex needs throughout the discharge process; this could include everything from general physical and mental health care, all the way to providing guidance on budgeting, cooking or housing arrangements.

Unlike many traditional community mental health teams, HEART works with small caseloads but through extended working hours, allowing for enhanced support from dawn till dusk.

GMMH say this allows HEART – a team made up of psychology professionals, occupational therapists, care co-ordinators, recovery workers and senior practitioners – to deliver more personalised and tailored support based on a specific patient’s needs.

This, combined with the additional ground work done prior to discharge on the wards to build trusting relationships and establish continuity of care, speeds up discharge, smooths integration into the community and ultimately keeps long-term patients out of hospital.

GMMH’s Head of Operations for the Rehabilitation Division, Nigel Hird, said: “The HEART team provides intensive support to individuals who face barriers to discharge. We help solve these barriers, which could include anything from housing and finances to physical health concerns or establishing day-to-day routines.

“In the first eight months of our pilot, we have demonstrated that this support, which is tailored to the individual needs of our service users, is effective in supporting people to leave hospital and integrate back into the community safely. This has allowed us to help people, who were previously reliant on mental health inpatient units, to progress, whilst freeing up mental health beds for those who need them.

“Looking to the future, we hope to demonstrate that this intensive support model allows not only for an increase in discharges for individuals with complex needs, but also in a reduction in the rate of readmission longer-term. In time, we hope to roll this support service out to other GM areas, to maximise these benefits for residents.”

The team currently only operates in Manchester and Salford but is hoping for a wider launch into other Greater Manchester areas soon.

NHE March/April 2024

NHE March/April 2024

A window into the past, present and future of healthcare leadership.

- Steve Gulati, University of Birmingham 

More articles...

View all
Online Conference


2024 Online Conferences

In partnership with our community of health sector leaders responsible for delivering the UK's health strategy across the NHS and the wider health sector, we’ve devised a collaborative calendar of conferences and events for industry leaders to listen, learn and collaborate through engaging and immersive conversation. 

All our conferences are CPD accredited, which means you can gain points to advance your career by attending our online conferences. Also, the contents are available on demand so you can re-watch at your convenience.

National Health Executive Podcast

Ep 42. Leadership in the NHS

In episode 42 of the National Health Executive podcast we were joined by Steve Gulati who is an associate professor at the University of Birmingham as well as director of healthcare leadership at the university’s Health Services Management Centre.