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General Practice Awards 2018: Mental Health Initiative


By Beth Gault
10 October 2018

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Mental Health Initiative Award – sponsored by LLoyds Bank 

The finalists for the General Practice Awards, which celebrate leading examples of innovation, hard work and leadership within primary care, were revealed at the end of August.

The awards, which will be held on 30 November at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel in London, are in their tenth year and, in the run-up to next month’s awards ceremony, Healthcare Leader is profiling the shortlisted candidates.

Judges were looking for excellence in mental health services, through high quality care and innovative projects. Entrants had to show evidence of sustainability, innovation and successful delivery.

Heidi Crompton, Royal Crescent and Preston Road Practice

With support of the Ted Fort Grant, advanced nurse practitioner Heidi Crompton led the development of the Junction Project. Its aim was to improve services for young people with mental health problems by increasing the knowledge of the practice team and developing a digital template to help staff assess mental health.

The project offers training for practice staff on the health needs of young people, including reception staff, nurses and GPs. A digital form was created, which records practical details, history – including life events, thoughts and feelings, as part of the consultation and examination process.

The template also includes detailing an agreed plan for the patient, prompts to work with other parties – such as carers or school nurses – and resources such as training links for health professionals.

As part of the initiative, training was also implemented across the practices and, in the four weeks following the training, the template was used eight times, and feedback from staff was positive.

Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Mental Health Crisis First Response Service

The First Response Service (FRS) is a 24/7 all age community-based service designed to support people experiencing mental health problems by providing immediate access to mental health care, advice, support and treatment.

By calling 111 and selecting option two, the patient, career, GP or other professional, is put through to a mental health telecoach who will discuss present mental health needs with them, agree a care plan and organise further assessment if necessary.

The implementation of the service has reduced demand for GP appointments, out of hours GP time, hospital admissions, ambulance callouts  and A&E attendances – with the latter previously being the only option for seeing a mental health patients out of hours.

Over 70% of FRS users have reported a good or excellent experience of the service, according to CQC figures from 2015, and there has been a 19% reduction in numbers of mental health patients admitted to acute hospitals from A&E since the initiative was introduced.

Cross Plain Health Centre – Mental Health Team

In order to offer better mental health services and free up GP time, Cross Plain Health Centre has introduced two mental health support workers.

The support workers now hold seven clinics per week, seeing around 100 patients per month. This has enabled the practice to see mental health patients with low level needs within a week, where they may previously have been waiting several months.

With the mental health support workers seeing patients with low level needs, time has been freed up for the GPs to focus on mental health patients with more high level needs.

Both support workers meet with the mental health lead GP each week to ensure closer oversight of the cases, and ensure the safety of the service. Originally funded by the practice itself, the scheme has since received innovation funding and has been in place for several years.

Family Nursing and Home Care – Rapid Response and Reablement Team

An independent review of community services within Jersey identified ‘clear failings’ in the provision of community mental health services. As a result, a rapid response and reablement team was established for the over 65s.

This seven-day service aimed to help those with a functional mental health concern or a cognitive impairment by offering mental health nursing interventions, and reduce admissions to hospital.

Another key objective was to ensure that the service is centred on the needs of the individual user, and that it offers choice, treatment based in the community and helps patients improve their independence.

The team’s remit includes supporting patients in 24-hour care facilities. While still in development, the scheme now has two nurses in place, and has received positive feedback from patients and staff.

Dr Akhoury Ajoy Shanker – New Invention Health Centre 

After experiencing poor coordination between service providers, Dr Ankhoury Ajoy Shanker decided to implement a different model for mental health services.

A monthly multidisciplinary clinic, known as the Integrated Mental Health Review, was born to ‘dissolve the artificial divide between primary and secondary care’ and establish better communication.

The patient first goes to a HCA clinic for 15 minutes to check physical health. Following this, the patient is seen by the multidisciplinary clinic for 30 minutes, an assessment that includes speaking to practitioners such as GPs, care coordinators, social workers and psychiatrists.

The clinic as a whole lasts for three hours, reviewing six secondary care patients and discusses various primary care patients. All of the patients who attended the clinic would recommend the service to friends and family.

Meanwhile, 85-90% of patients expressed satisfaction with the explanation of their management plan, confidence in the healthcare professionals treating them, and satisfaction with the level of involvement in their care.

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