Agenda item


Purpose of the report: The Select Committee will be provided with a detailed report on the findings and recommendations of the Mental Health Task Group.



Olive Aherne, Area Manager, Richmond Fellowship

Karl Atreides, Chair, Independent Mental Health Network

Janice Clark, Governor, Surrey and Borders Partnership

Nick Darby, Chairman of the Mental Health Task Group

Nick Markwick, Co-Chair, Surrey Coalition of Disabled People

Sinead Mooney, Cabinet Member for Adults and Health

Professor Helen Rostill, Director of Mental Health, Surrey Heartlands

Kate Scribbins, Chief Executive, Healthwatch Surrey


Key points raised during the discussion:


Ernest Mallett joined the meeting at 10:36am.


1.    The Chairman of the Mental Health Task Group introduced the report, highlighting issues in the mental health patient journey that were raised multiple times over the course of the Task Group’s work, namely:

a.    There were often problems involved in the transition from children’s to adults’ mental health services;

b.    ‘Falling between two stools’ – the phenomenon of patient not meeting criteria for a particular treatment and therefore being bounced back and forth between services;

c.    The development of the GP Integrated Mental Health Service (GPIMHS) was deemed very encouraging;

d.    Contracts with charity sector organisations tended to be only about three years long – the Task Group recommended that this be extended;

e.    The Task Group recommended that longer opening hours of Safe Havens be considered;

f.     Data protection rules meant that sharing patient information was difficult;

g.    Incompatibility of IT systems meant that patients had to repeat their stories multiple times;

h.    Training was important to foster greater understanding of mental health issues;

i.      There had been delays in making improvements to the Abraham Cowley Unit of St Peter’s Hospital.

2.    A Member emphasised that mental health problems could start as early as pre-school age, so it was important that the transition from children’s to adults’ services took this into account.

3.    A Member asked whether ligature points had now been eradicated in the Abraham Cowley Unit. The Surrey and Borders Partnership (SABP) Director of Mental Health responded that the ward where ligature points had been identified had now been closed and patients were being cared for in other facilities. The ligature risk had been assessed on all wards and work was underway to fit Primera safe hinges, which had a sensor function to prevent ligature from occurring.

4.    A Member enquired whether steps were being taken to provide out of hours service at Safe Havens. The Director of Mental Health stated that SABP was in the process of looking at providing 24/7 Safe Haven provision in partnership with NHS England. Moreover, the mental health liaison services and home treatment teams already provided 24/7 service.

5.    A Member requested that the Select Committee be sent a diagram showing pathways for patients through the mental health system in Surrey.

6.    A Member emphasised that all transitions should be considered, not only the transition from children’s to adults’ mental health services, as there were often weaknesses involved in transition from one service to another.

7.    The Task Group assured the Select Committee that this report would be shared with a wide audience: it would be presented at Cabinet on 27 October 2020; sent to all witnesses who took part in the Task Group’s work; presented to the Health and Wellbeing Board; and publicised in a press release.

8.    The Chair of the Independent Mental Health Network (IMHN) expressed support for the Task Group’s work and suggested that training to become a mental health first-aider could be a suitable type of training to be looked at when implementing the Task Group’s recommendations.

9.    The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health suggested that the Task Group’s input from service users could be reflected more strongly in the report.

10.  The Chairman of the Select Committee explained that the Task Group would regularly report back to the committee on progress in following up recommendations, and Members would consider whether to continue the work of the Task Group with revised terms of reference.



The Select Committee endorses the recommendations set out in the Mental Health Task Group report.


Actions/further information to be provided:

1.    Democratic Services officers to share a diagram showing the patient mental health pathways in Surrey.

Supporting documents: