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CCG saves thousands of pounds with London mental health scheme

CCG saves thousands of pounds with London mental health scheme

A successful London mental health scheme has saved Newham CCG thousands of pounds, as patients can see GP rather than go to hospital
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A successful London mental health scheme has saved the NHS thousands and meant more than 600 people now visit their GP instead of the hospital for regular physical and mental health checks.

Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has trained four teams of community psychiatric nurses (CPNs) for 61 general practice (GP) surgeries so that patients with stable, severe mental illnesses can be seen at their local practice, rather than by a psychiatrist in a hospital.

The initiative has saved thousands of pounds for the CCG, some of which has been reinvested with East London NHS Foundation Trust to establish new services.

Dr Lise Hertel, who has been commissioning the scheme with Newham CCG for the last three years, said:“This service achieves appointments that are closer to home and the patients can be seen more often. The GPs QOF scores have increased as a result and this has helped fund the primary care mental health development. We’re working towards a parity of esteem and integrated mind and body care with this initiative.”

Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s national clinical director for Mental Health, said: “Newham is an excellent example of the partnership working between commissioners, service users and specialist services, all committed to work together to make sure people get the right care in the right place.”

In Newham mental health problems still cost £138 each year per head of the population and the CCG is aiming to help get more people with mental health problems back into work through a variety of new initiatives including buddying schemes.

They also found two unexpected challenges to the service. Firstly, ensuring that patients did not lose their freedom passes, which allows free travel on public transport and is often only awarded because the person is in touch with secondary care. Another current problem is the potential risk of a patient losing their housing because they had been discharged from secondary care. This is dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

“There will always be challenges with any change and we are still working on some things,” Dr Hertel said.

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