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Agenda item

Partnership Working to Support Mental Health Community Provision in Tamworth

(To receive an update from the Assistant Director, Partnerships and representatives of the Midlands Partnership Foundation Trust)


The Chair welcomed to the meeting Ms Jo Sands, Assistant Director Partnerships and Ms Susan Unwin, Consultant Nurse and Approved Clinician at the Midland Partnership Foundation Trust (MPFT). The Chair reported that Upkar Jheeta, Head of Primary Care Development & MH Programme Lead (South Staffordshire) from MPFT was unable to attend this evenings meeting.  The Chair invited the Assistant Director Partnerships and the Consultant Nurse and Approved Clinician to provide a brief overview of the mental health services available in Tamworth.


The Assistant Director reported that The Tamworth Community Safety Partnership Plan 2022-23 identified vulnerable persons and contextual safeguarding (including drugs, alcohol and mental health) as a priority and aligned with the Council purpose to help tackle the causes of inequality and increase opportunities, help tackle causes and effects of poverty and financial hardship and help build resilient communities.


The Council continued to work with statutory and voluntary sector partners who were responsible for the delivery of services to support the vulnerable, especially as a result of the current pandemic.


The Assistant Director Partnerships reported that she was a member of the Southeast Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) Healthy Communities Partnership, initially formed to bring together key Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) partners with key NHS and local authority organisations in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.


The purpose of the partnership was to work to address health inequalities by working with residents through community asset based approaches (nurturing the strengths and resources of people and communities) in Southeast Staffordshire.


Tamworth was also represented by the Partnerships team on relevant Staffordshire County Council and Staffordshire Commissioners Office for Police Fire and Crime meetings working to address wider community safety and vulnerability concerns.


The Assistant Director reported that mental health had been highlighted as a national area of concern and that it was a focus of need in Tamworth and a priority across all partners.


The Consultant Nurse and Approved Clinician provided an overview of the current configuration of mental health services in Staffordshire as well as the transformation model underway and the partnerships involved in that.


In terms of the services delivered these spanned Adult Mental Health Community services, including increased access to psychosocial therapies, memory teams, dementia and memory services, crisis resolution and Core 24 (liaison mental health teams in acute hospitals (Burton hospital)), as well as Adult In-Patient Services, which for Tamworth residents were based at St George’s hospital and included Dementia in-patient wards and MOD beds as well a Social Care to support hospital discharge.


The Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Community Mental Health Transformation Model aimed to proactively identify local population needs, gaps and emerging demand, using local knowledge in developing priorities and inequalities in health.  There would be no wrong door to access services, with a single point of access to services, enabling self-referral and a reduced threshold to access care.  There would be a drive for NHS providers to work with all voluntary services to remove boundaries. The model would involve partnerships with social care, substance misuse, housing and the voluntary sector to seek to consider patients holistically understanding that multiple factors impact on mental health and to seek to provide services to patients to support in their recovery in ways that were most effective for them. This was expected to involve building on local assets which existed and addressing gaps, as well as integrating and mutually supporting services to provide a broad rehabilitation and recovery pathway for patients. There would be specific pathway opportunities for community rehabilitation, eating disorders and personality disorders.


It was reported that the Strategy involved engagement and collaboration to hear all views, assessing health data locally to understand areas of deprivation, co-producing high quality services (being informed by service users) and delivering, with partners, high quality care.  The Consultant Nurse and Approved Clinician provided an overview of how service users could access support (via GP, mental health practitioner, the integrated response hub, or via self-referral) how needs would be screened and supported, including linking with appropriate support such as housing, debt advice, social prescribing and substance misuse advice, as well as ensuring physical health checks were completed and followed up, and how specialist interventions could be provided where greater support was required.


The Committee sought and received the following clarifications:


·       The extent of the additional funding which had been made available.

·       Communication of the existence of this support as well as how to access it was considered to be key, and the importance of making sure the communication reached potential service users.  The need to use a variety of communication methods and not rely on digital communication was highlighted. It was suggested that posters at relevant sites would assist in communicating this message, as well as any use of digital signage within the town centre if that were to be developed to enable campaigns to highlighted.  It was further highlighted that there would be value in engaging with the voluntary sector locally who could provide meaningful communication routes to communities and the extent to which these routes had been fully explored within Tamworth.

·       The role of the PCSOs in this area and their access to mental health colleagues was raised and it was reported that partnership meetings, involving the police, were held weekly which could assist.  It was further reported that there would soon be a mental health worker based within the Tamworth Advice Centre to provide support.

·       The training available to council staff in this area, where it was reported that all staff received Level 1 safeguarding training with additional training, including mental health first aid training, provided to staff in certain roles. 

·       The importance of being able to sign post to a clear first access point for either service users, or those with concerns around others with possible mental health issues, was raised.  The value of mental health first aid training in the community was highlighted.  The Consultant Nurse advised that the Access Team (based in Lichfield) was available 24/7. Furthermore support and literature was available from Staffordshire County Council, Staffordshire Cares, if there were safeguarding concerns for any vulnerable adults.

·       Whether further details of the granular understanding of local issues could be provided and how quickly there would be plans developed to address any issues specifically identified.  It was reported that one of the outcomes for Tamworth of the heat tool exercise undertaken was the decision to fund support into the Tamworth Advice Centre, around debt management issues.

·       Clarification was sought on whether the Council website content could be improved to help publicise the Access Team telephone number and to link through to the relevant services on MPFT website.

·       How service users were being engaged in this process, where it was reported that current service users were being engaged through service users network and carers organisations and ensuring that there was co-working and co-production of the services.

·       How consideration of veterans needs was being accommodated in this process, where the Consultant Nurse and Approved Clinician reported that she would take that query back.

·       How the lowering of the threshold to access services would be communication to GPs, where it was reported that GPs were engaged in the processes including with the addition of ARRS workers to local primary care networks.


The Committee thanked the Assistant Director Partnerships and the Consultant Nurse and Approved Clinician for their attendance and presentation and looked forwarded to welcoming them back in September.



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