Dr Heather Salt recalls how the effort to offer psychological therapies to patients with cardiac care started with one psychologist offering once-a-week sessions at the John Radcliffe Hospital, at the request of a cardiology nurse practitioner.
It turned out that there was a great demand for these services, with patients, carers and clinicians all greatly valuing the service.
This led to a project to provide people with long-term conditions access to psychological services, working with clinicians providing physical health care so that they could spot signs of anxiety and depression, and offer basic cognitive behavioural therapy.
The team went on to be shortlisted for the prestigious Health Service Journal awards for two years, and the Oxford Health Improving Access to Psychological services are now part of a the first wave offering psychological support for long-term physical health conditions.
‘I want to share our experience as it has been a fantastic opportunity for me personally, for our patients with long-term physical health problems, and their carers who all benefit greatly from this initiative,’ says Dr Salt.
‘The physical health care teams we have spoken to are very motivated to develop joint working practices and pathways for these patients.’
Read more on Dr Salt’s blog post on the NHS England blog.