Denis O'Rourke, Assistant Director of Integrated Commissioning (mental health) at NHS Lambeth CCG, The Collaborative
May 12, 2017
In Lambeth we realised a few years ago that despite the big efforts and money we were putting into mental healthcare – particularly acute care – we weren’t getting great health outcomes.
The number of local people with severe mental illness remained among the highest in London. In addition, local people were experiencing difficulties with poor housing and limited employment opportunities, which were impacting on our ability to support people to get on with their lives.
We saw the need to drive fundamental change. We reframed the conversation around mental health. We started to talk to – and engage with – those who used our services as ‘people with skills and assets’, rather than ‘cases’ or ‘patients with a diagnosis’.
We created a new framework of outcomes that looked beyond the clinical results to one which focused on people holistically, supporting people to regain hope, connections and get on with living their lives. We also built strong collaborative relationships with those involved in supporting local people with mental health issues.
This work to date has brought better outcomes – supporting up to 400 people a month, well before they reach crisis point, and a 43 per cent reduction in referrals to secondary care which has led to a reduction in waiting times.
We are still a long way from where we want to be, but feel we’ve learned some important lessons along the way which may help others looking to drive transformational change – in mental health and beyond.
This text was first published by Nesta and is an abridged version of an article originally published in The MJ. Read the full article here.
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