On Friday 30 September more than 200 service users, stakeholders and members of staff came together across the five boroughs of Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey and Islington, to discuss the developments of a radical community mental health transformation programme.
The event gave people the chance to discuss developments and suggest future changes to mental health services, and the opportunity to give their feedback. More than 40 suggestions were put forward for change, including self-referral for some services and an increase in the number of drop-in centres. The suggestions are being collated and will be used to inform future changes.
The programme began 18 months ago, and since then staff have been recruited to 250 new roles, with another 70 still to be recruited. This model of community support is already revolutionising the way that mental health services are being delivered, as well as how, and where, NHS staff and community partners work together.
Natalie Fox, Deputy Chief Executive and lead for the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme, said: “The changes we are making will improve the lives of many, many thousands of people for years to come. We are now seeing multi-disciplinary teams of experts, including those with lived experience, working within the Primary Care Networks. Together, these teams are beginning to provide holistic, wraparound care, covering a wide range of mental health needs.
“This new way of working is tackling the health inequalities faced by people with mental health needs. People are starting to have greater choice and control over their care, with increased support for them to live well in their communities.”
A service user who attended the event, but wished to remain anonymous, said: “It was really good to be able to talk to senior staff who are running the services and get immediate answers to my questions about the services. It’s good that I was asked what I want – it wasn’t just imposed on me. I also met other people who use the services and it was good to hear their point of view about what is working. I have noticed a lot of changes, and it was reassuring to learn that they are being made across all the five boroughs.”