Agenda item


Purpose of the item: To provide the Adults and Health Select Committee with an update on progress in implementing the recommendations of the Mental Health Task Group, which was established to map the individual and carer’s journey through adult mental health services in Surrey.




·         Andy Erskine – Deputy Chief Operating Officer, Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

·         Immy Markwick – Mental Health Lead, Independent Mental Health Network

·         Sinead Mooney – Cabinet Member for Adults and Health

·         Professor Helen Rostill – Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Therapies, Surrey and Borders NHS Foundation Trust

·         Liz Uliasz – Assistant Director of Mental Health, Surrey County Council

·         Patrick Wolter – Chief Executive Officer, Mary Frances Trust


Key points raised during the discussion:


Frank Kelly left the meeting for the duration of the item.


1.    In response to a Member’s question regarding support, funding and resourcing for the work of the Mental Health Improvement Plan, the Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Therapies explained that there was a cross-sector commitment to deliver improvement to mental health services, and these were being driven forward through a range of schemes and initiatives that showcased an improvement in collaborative working. Financially, there was an ongoing commitment to funding under the NHS Long-Term Plan, and mental health investment was received through the 2020 spending review. The Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Therapies went on to say that a review was underway to look at the resourcing of mental health services in Surrey, and as part of this they would look at issues around the sufficiency, use and distribution of funding, as well as value for money and effectiveness. They also added that a second Mental Health Summit would be taking place in December 2021 after being discussed at a meeting of the Health and Wellbeing Board in June 2021. The Select Committee then heard from the Assistant Director of Mental Health, who reiterated her commitment to supporting, funding and resourcing mental health services and spoke about how refreshing it was to see joined up working happening at all levels.


2.    A Member asked about support being given to smaller third sector organisations and was told by the Assistant Director of Mental Health that this was part of the work that was being done around the Alliance model to ensure that everyone involved, including residents, had an equal voice. The Cabinet Member for Adults and Health added that she was committed to taking the Alliance forward and discussing at the Mental Health Summit what could be done to make sure that third sector organisations had every opportunity for their voices to be heard.


3.    The Mental Health Lead of the Independent Mental Health Network spoke about the current availability of the General Practice Integrated Mental Health Service/Mental Health Integrated Community Services (GPIMHS/MHICS) being based primarily around the north and north-west parts of Surrey, and that there was a lack of availability in the south and south-east. They went on to say that there was an issue with people experiencing mental health crises being taken to A&E, despite this not being an appropriate setting for them. In response, the Deputy Chief Operating Officer explained that very few people experiencing mental health crises were taken directly Safe Havens by ambulances and were instead being taken to A&E, and that work around this was being done with the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb). They went on to say that one of the biggest challenges was reminding SECAmb that Safe Havens were an option, but that a Professionals Advice Line had been set up and was well used, and this was more likely to signpost towards Safe Havens and away from A&E.


4.    The Select Committee heard from the Chief Executive Officer of Mary Frances Trust, who spoke about the difficulties sometimes faced by third sector providers when trying to participate as equal partners with larger organisations. A lot of collaborative working had been taking place, particularly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and many interesting initiatives had been developed, but it was sometimes difficult for the third sector to participate in certain activities, such as data collecting, due to fewer numbers of staff and available resources. Going forward, all partners needed to think about how best to support smaller organisations. They went on to say that, during the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, Safe Havens had concentrated on delivering services only for those people experiencing mental health crises, and that many face-to-face services had been replaced by a virtual offer. Safe Havens were in the process of returning to face-to-face services but were now needing to operate both in person and online because the virtual offer was well received and still being used, which was a challenge. The Chief Executive Officer explained that Safe Havens used to have the function of supporting people to prevent them going into crisis, which they were not currently able to fulfil, and that third sector organisations were having conversations with Surrey and Borders Partnership about the future model so they could ensure people were able to access and receive the right support.


5.    Responding to a question about funding for the continued rollout of GPIMHS/MHICS across Surrey, the Deputy Chief Executive & Director of Therapies explained that funding had been agreed and that plans for the rollout of the service to all Primary Care Networks (PCNs) were being taken forward. Including the Frimley footprint, there were nine PCNs that GPIMHS/MHICS was being rolled out to over the remainder of 2021, which would increase the total number of sites to 20. There remained challenges around recruitment, but the nine sites were still on track to be delivered in 2021, with the remaining sites following in 2022.


6.    A Member asked whether the work taking place at the Abraham Cowley Unit at St Peter’s Hospital was still on track to be completed in the summer of 2024 and what risks there might be in relation to that timescale. In response, the Director of Mental Health confirmed that they were still working to those timescales and that funding would be received through the national dormitory eradication programme.

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