A specialist NHS mental health service which prioritises treating long-term hospital patients closer to home near family and friends has been nominated for a national health award.

As part of its ground-breaking New Care Model approach, the Thames Valley and Wessex Forensic Network is identifying patients who may not be getting the care that is right for them and close to home.

By relocating them to wards closer to home the network is improving patients’ access to local services and enabling them to see more of friends and family.

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust is the lead provider of the network which includes Southern Health, Dorset HealthCare University, Berkshire Healthcare, Central & North West London, Milton Keynes, Solent, and Isle of Wight NHS trusts, and Response, a third-sector provider of supported housing.

Bringing patients closer to home

In its first year, the network introduced a joint decision-making delivery model. It meant clinicians from across the network collectively agreed how to meet the needs of individual patients with the most appropriate care and location.

Using this model the network brought 17 people closer to loved ones and ensured 35 people were placed closer to home on admission. Patients have been placed in the setting that is right for them first time.

This made a real difference to patients’ health and facilitated visits from family and friends. It also meant visitors did not face hours of travel and expense to see loved ones placed out of area, something that often results in less frequent visits.

Health Service Journal Award shortlisting

The new approach to care, known as the New Care Model for Tertiary Mental Health Services, is now shortlisted for a Health Service Journal Award in the category of Acute or Specialist Services Redesign – London and South.

Jude Deacon, Director of Forensic Mental Health at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “By working together across the network, partners are able to move patients to the ward that is right for them both medically and geographically.

“Local health professionals may already know the patients and can more quickly understand and meet their needs. This means patients can get the right level of care they need sooner and spend less time in hospital. We have seen fewer readmissions and patients’ families and friends are more able to visit.

“We are delighted to see the efforts and achievement of the network recognised with a shortlisting for a HSJ award. We’ve got all our fingers crossed – across nine organisations and seven counties.“

 

The HSJ Awards will be announced on Wednesday 21 November 2018.