Hello my name is Nicola …

Welcome to my first WY&H Health and Care Partnership blog in my CEO lead role for mental health; I especially wanted to write it this week in the run up to the Christmas holidays.

Whilst the festive season is a happy family time for many, it can also be a sad and lonely time for those experiencing mental illness and ill health. Christmas can also be the trigger for some people, causing stress, feelings of isolation and grief of missing loved ones.

One in four of us will experience mental health ill health at some point in our life, whilst many others care for those they love to overcome it.

It’s extremely important that people know they are not alone during this time of year and that there is wealth of support available 365 days a year; whether this is from health and social care services, charities or voluntary and community organisations. All organisations websites will have information available on how to contact services during the holiday period.

As I look back at the work we have undertaken over the past 12 months across WY&H, it’s clear to see that we all want the best care possible to ensure people’s mental well-being is paramount. We want it to be equally as important as the treatment available for people with physical ill health issues – and in fact the two should be considered alongside each other, so that we treat the whole person and not one in isolation of the other.

There is strong evidence that addressing mental health issues early improves lives in the longer term; for example, if you are a man with a severe mental illness in West Yorkshire and Harrogate you are three times more likely to die of circulatory disease (smoking, an unhealthy diet and stress all increase the risk of heart disease. A heart attack or stroke can occur if the circulatory condition is untreated) and you are twice as more likely to die of cancer than someone without mental illness.

This is equally true across a range of other common conditions, and the result of this is that life expectancy is around 18 years lower. This is one of the reasons why we need to improve mental health services, and crucially, remove boundaries that exist between mental and physical health services.

To help make sure we meet these ambitions four organisations (Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust and South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Trust) are working together, alongside local authorities, the VCS, the police, fire service and clinical commissioning groups (who buy health services), to strengthen partnerships and share delivery of specialist mental health services. Through these closer working arrangements we will share best practice and reduce variation across WY&H.

Our partnership work is already making a positive difference. For example:

  • We have recently launched our West Yorkshire suicide prevention plan which aims to reduce the number of suicides of people in contact with mental health services. You can also view the infographic here.
  • We have developed new ways of working to support children and young people with complex mental health illness, including safer spaces for young people in crisis
  • We have agreed an approach from April 2018 to prevent people being placed in hospital care for treatment outside of West Yorkshire.
  • We have secured £13m of capital investment to build a new children and young people mental health unit in Leeds (subject to business case approval). This new unit will mean children and young people who require an inpatient bed will be able to get the care they need closer to their homes, making it easier for their family and carers to visit. There will also be an increase in the number of beds available across West Yorkshire.
  • We have secured £800,000 transformation investment to improve mental health liaison services that are provided within acute hospitals. This means that people should get the care and treatment they need in the right place at the right time.
  • In Harrogate we are piloting a project with a local community organisation for people with long term mental health problems with the aim of supporting them back into community life, by reducing reliance on mental health services and working towards employment.
  • We will be delivering new models of care around eating disorders and child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) pathways.
  • Bradford’s crisis care partnership and first response services have received national recognition and they have had no mental health out of area placements in over 2 ½ years. The service offers mental health crisis support 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to vulnerable people needing urgent crisis support. A single phone number means that people can self-refer.
  • We have opened safer spaces and crisis café’s across West Yorkshire for adults.

Getting involved with people early and signposting them to the right service, has reduced demand on the police, ambulance services and A&E departments, and has achieved a 50% reduction in people detained under section 136, which gives police the power to take someone to a place of safety.

NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG, North Kirklees CCG and Kirklees Council have worked to improve access to children’s mental health services, launching a one-stop-shop phone service for children and young people with emotional and mental health needs, developing a regional eating disorder service and piloting a scheme to provide support to school pupils with autism and mental health needs.

Clearly there is some great work taking place but we are not complacent. We know locally and nationally, more needs to be done to support people to ensure their mental wellbeing. The West Yorkshire and Harrogate partnership will help strengthen the work we do across all sectors, so that we improve mental health and wellbeing for everyone in 2018 and beyond through delivery of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.

Have a good weekend


What else has been happening this week?

Supporting NHS and local government partnerships

Over thirty people, including councillors, government officers and WY&H colleagues attended a workshop led by the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS), on Tuesday to learn about how we can further improve the way we work together to benefit people living across our area. The workshop focused on governance, accountability, transformation and involvement. Cllr David Jones, a Wakefield Cabinet Member, welcomed everyone to the workshop, highlighting the importance of integrated health care and the role of trust in partnerships.

Speakers included Rebecca Bibbs from South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who talked about Live Well Wakefield, which is all about reducing health inequalities. Rebecca discussed how better health leads to greater independence. Other guest speakers included John Wilderspin, former Strategic Programme Director, Birmingham and Solihull, STP, who talked about our role as public servants.

Cllr Ian Parry, former Deputy Leader of Staffordshire County Council talked about the challenges in local government during times of change and the importance of those who represent communities living in their local areas, so they are accountable, accessible, present and visible. Ian stressed the importance of partnerships as there is no single organisation solution. Cath Broderick, former member of the Independent Reconfiguration Panel talked about learning from reviews, large scale service change and the growth of co-production.

Calderdale and Kirklees Maternity Service Liaison Committee

Calderdale and Kirklees Maternity Service Liaison Committee received an update on Monday about the work of our Local Maternity System Board. Watch our film to find out more.

Local place leads

Local plan leads met on Tuesday to discuss progress. This included an update from Wakefield. Their Health and Wellbeing Board will meet on the 25 January to talk about the WY&H plan, which will include an update on the Cancer Alliance. Rob Goodyear from Leeds gave an overview on behaviour change programmes. In Bradford, work is progressing around wider health issues, such as housing, employment etc. and Harrogate gave an overview on the process of integrated care for primary and community services.

As well as Calderdale (please see last week’s blog), Bradford has also received a £10m from a Sport England scheme to get the city’s children moving. Projects across the North of the city will receive a share of the National Lottery funding over four years to increase physical activity levels among five to 14-year-olds.

Workforce planning

A meeting took place with the Local Workforce Action Board on Tuesday to discuss workforce planning and the next steps. This included the development of the plan, a website and digital engagement work.

WY&H programme lead update

Our WY&H programme leads met on Thursday to go through actions from the leadership day last week. They give each other an update on the work, discussing overlaps and how best they can share learning. The development of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and reporting mechanisms for progress checks were also covered.

Cancer Alliance

Colleagues from across our Cancer Alliance met earlier this week to look at how the effectiveness of multidisciplinary team (MDTs) meetings in cancer services can be improved. MDTs are considered the ‘gold standard’ for cancer patient management, bringing continuity of care and reducing variation in access to treatment. Read more here.

Event to support carers across West Yorkshire and Harrogate

West Yorkshire and Harrogate, Health and Care Partnership shared their vision and aspirations for the 260,000 unpaid carers, including young carers, living across the area at a special event in Wakefield on Thursday. Over 60 representatives from voluntary and community organisations including, Carers Count, Carers Wakefield and District, Carers Leeds and Carers Resource attended the event supported by health services, local councils and Carers UK to find out how they can contribute to the WY&H vision for unpaid carers and share good practice.

Guest speakers on the day included Rob Webster, Emily Holzhausen OBE from Carers UK, Fatima Khan-Shah, Partnership Lead for Carers, Maria Green-Lynch, Public Health Project Coordinator Wakefield City Council and Neil Churchill from NHS England. Read more here. You can also view the event presentations here.

What’s happening next week?

  • Our Business Intelligence work-stream meets for the 2nd time on Monday to discuss how we will track progress towards delivering our WY&H aspirations.
  • The Standardisation of Commissioning Policies group will meet on Tuesday.
  • The Finance Leaders meeting will take place on Wednesday.