Meet Jamie Stafford - CMHT Programme Director, East London
The steps taken forward in bringing people and healthcare partners together is one of the highlights of the transformation programme, writes Jamie Stafford, Programme Director for the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme in East London.
The East London programme was selected as one of 12 early implementer sites in 2019 and tremendous progress has been made because of the commitment and hard work of service users, mental health professionals, social care professionals and Voluntary Community Sector (VCSO) partners.
There was recognition that mental health services often feel really fragmented and the focus for everyone involved in this programme has been how to make care feel more joined-up.
It wasn’t about creating more services – it was about making accessing mental health support less complicated.
Relationships have changed between different organisations and that has helped change and improve the care offer.
As an example, one of our GP colleagues in Tower Hamlets talks about how they might see a patient in the morning who would benefit from some mental health support.
Previously, she would have sent off a form and then waited for a reply – which may well have said the patient didn’t meet the service criteria and advised them to try somewhere else.
Now, the GP joins a daily neighbourhood huddle and will speak to people from mental health services and different voluntary sector organisations.
She will share the conversation held with her patient and ask ‘what do you think?’
There is then a joined-up conversation. The GP can then text her patient, who she only saw a few hours earlier, and say ‘this is the plan and this is the service who will be in touch to support you’.
It is a really responsive approach.
The programme is about providing an integrated mental health offer across all different services so people get a rapid response and rapid support.
I feel incredibly proud of the changes being made to improving community mental health care and incredibly privileged to work alongside amazing service users, health professionals and voluntary sector organisations who are making this change possible.