New ten-year strategy being devised to put mental health at the forefront in Norfolk and Waveney

A major independent review of mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney - which began in May 2018 with a keynote workshop - is gathering pace.

Local NHS and social care partners are to develop a 10-year strategy that offers a clear vision for the future delivery of and model for mental health services, to include self-care and management and community-based support, as well as NHS and social care services.
The review has been commissioned by the Norfolk and Waveney Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP), which brings together local health and social care organisations.

STP Chief Officer Melanie Craig said: “Patients, carers, clinicians and stakeholders who came to our ‘Breaking the Mould’ workshop in May made it clear we need to do things differently. They told us we cannot rely on piecemeal changes or fixing problems in isolation. We need a root and branch look at mental health services so we can design them for the future.

“At the end of that workshop we promised to hold a full-scale review of mental health and we are now delivering on that promise.”

The STP has agreed that this work must be done at pace and should draw on best practice from elsewhere in the country. Independent experts will be asked to perform the review and report back with initial findings by the end of the year.

The brief is to develop a comprehensive oversight of what will be needed to transform the delivery of services, within current commissioning and provision. This includes preventative activities in communities, such as helping people to manage ‘mental distress’ rather than medicalising this, to specialist services and long-term support for people with diagnosable complex mental health those conditions.

The STP has also specified that co-production with service users, their families and carers will be at the core of the review.

Dr Tony Palframan, a GP in South Norfolk, said: “From a clinical perspective, mental health has often been seen as a poor relation to physical health. This is a great opportunity to move in a new direction, not just for now but for the next decade or more.”

The STP will work closely with the Suffolk & North East Essex STP, which is conducting a similar review, and the two projects will link wherever possible. The review and the development of the strategy will take into account other national and local strategic developments, including NHS England’s ‘Five Year Forward View’ for mental health and the development of Children and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) and Learning Disabilities Service strategies in Norfolk and Waveney.