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Mental Health Strategy - your comments invited

04 January 2019


Residents across Norfolk and Waveney are being urged to comment on a major mental health draft strategy - developed with input from thousands of local people.

The draft will be developed into a final mental health strategy for the area. The review of adult mental health support is being overseen by the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which is made up of partners in health and social care.

Patricia Hewitt, chair of the STP, said, “Every partner organisation within the Norfolk and Waveney STP recognises that we need to improve support and services for people with mental health issues. Over the past four months, we have had invaluable feedback from local service users, carers, staff and others which has provided the basis for the draft mental health strategy for Norfolk and Waveney. Now we are asking people to comment on the draft strategy and help to turn broad principles into detailed plans. We hope many thousands of people in Norfolk and Waveney will get involved in this vital work.”

The review began in mid-2018 with the aim of understanding the views of adult service users, their families and carers, staff and volunteers. As well as analysing an enormous amount of data from across the system, the STP held 42 separate events between August to December 2018 of which seven targeted users, carers and the public, 25 targeted health & social care staff and 10 targeted community and voluntary groups, reaching more than 2,500 people in total. In addition to these events, more than 1,000 people took part in an online survey.

There was a clear message that people are largely dissatisfied with the current provision of mental health support in the area and that things need to change. For example, from the online survey:

  • 95% of respondents feel that services fail to meet the needs of the mentally ill
  • 70% of respondents feel that mental health services are not locally accessible
  • 40% of respondents do not feel that they know how to access services

Dr Tony Palframan, chairman of the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Mental Health Forum said: “We know mental health is often seen as a poor relation to physical health and we certainly saw these concerns coming through in the conversations we had with people last year.

“As we move forward with our draft strategy I would like to urge as many people as possible to tell us what they think and help us develop our plans for the future. We need to deliver a new mental health strategy for Norfolk and Waveney which ensures the resources we have are being invested in a way that makes the most difference.”

All of the feedback was summarised as six provisional ‘strategic pillars’ which currently underpin the draft adult mental health strategy across Norfolk and Waveney. These are:

  1. Focus more on prevention and wellbeing
  2. Ensure clear routes into/through services and make these transparent to all
  3. Support the management of mental health issues in primary care settings
  4. Provide appropriate support to those in crisis
  5. Ensure effective in-patient care for those that really need it
  6. Ensure the system is focused on working in an integrated way to care for patients

Dr Ardyn Ross, a GP at East Norfolk Medical Practice in Great Yarmouth and the clinical lead for mental health across Norfolk and Waveney, said, “We are so grateful to everyone who gave up their time and shared their views and experiences with us over the past few months. Some attended meetings, others wrote to us and many completed our online survey. People have been telling us what is working and what needs improving too. Some shared their own personal experiences and all of this feedback was truly invaluable.

“We have been able to draft a mental health strategy for the area and we are now going back to our residents to ask for their input again to develop our final strategy. This information will be at the heart of the work that we do together with our patients and partnership organisations to bring about real change in the way that we support people with their mental health.”

You can see the draft strategy here;

And can take part in an online survey here

The following organisations are part of the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP);

NHS Great Yarmouth and Waveney CCG

NHS North Norfolk CCG

NHS Norwich CCG

NHS South Norfolk CCG

NHS West Norfolk CCG

James Paget University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Queen Elizabeth Hospital King’s Lynn NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk County Council

Suffolk County Council

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust

Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust

East Coast Community Healthcare CIC