Message from Samantha Allen, CEO and Adam Doyle, CEO Sussex and East Surrey CCGs

We are delighted to share the positive news that we have secured significant, additional investment of £9.4 million over 2 years from NHS England and NHS Improvement to support our work in partnership to improve mental health services for the local communities we serve.

This Transformation Funding has been awarded to Sussex Health and Care Partnership, an alliance which involves the NHS and local authorities working together. Our success in the bidding process for additional resources will enable us to build on the work we are already doing to improve patient and family experience (a recent example being the opening of the Haven in Hove, our new 24/7 crisis assessment service).

Specific areas of development include:

Children and young people

We will introduce six Mental Health Support Teams (MHSTs) in schools across Sussex to provide specialist support to children and young people. These teams will provide one-to-one and group psychological support, working with families. This will build on existing support including school nurses.  

Crisis resolution / home treatment

We already have plans to ensure our crisis resolution/home treatment teams are available 24/7 and with enhanced ability to provide intensive home support. We know that people with psychosis are less likely to engage with these services than other people. We are going to introduce more specialist roles to these teams to provide psychological interventions to prevent people from relapsing and having to be admitted to hospital.

Expansion of psychiatric liaison teams

Psychiatric liaison teams provide specialist mental health support for people who present in crisis at A&E. The funding we have secured will enable us to ensure 24/7 provision of psychiatric liaison at Worthing Hospital in 2019/20 and in St. Richards Hospital in Chichester in 2020/21.

Crisis cafés 

The idea of crisis cafés is to offer an alternative to A&E for people who need specialist mental health support. These services draw on the expertise of our third sector partners such as Southdown, who run an established crisis café in Hastings. They are staffed by peer-support workers and experts-by-experience working alongside clinicians trained in specific evidence based interventions. Four new crisis cafés will be set up across Sussex, each of which will be open for 46 hours per week, including evenings and at weekends.

Ambulance Triage

Ambulance triage involves qualified psychiatric nurses being called to and attending incidents at which crews have found a person who has no further need of medical or paramedical attention, but appears to be experiencing some form of mental health crisis and might otherwise be conveyed to A&E. The pilot we are running of this service in North West Sussex will continue until the end of 2019/20, at which point we aim to extend the service across Sussex.

Street Triage

Sussex was one of the first areas in the country to develop and roll-out street triage - which is a joint scheme between the police and mental health services - and involves an officer and qualified psychiatric nurse attending incidents at which appears a person is experiencing some form of mental health crisis. The incidence of s136 detentions and conveyances to police custody has reduced significantly since the introduction of street triage, but its hours of operation remains variable across Sussex. To address this, we will extend  street triage to operate for 84 hours a week everywhere across Sussex.

Adult community mental health services

In addition to the above, the redesign of adult community services is a shared priory for us in the year ahead. Improving the experience of people who use these services requires the whole health and social care system to work together. This will involve creating new services, partnerships and roles, and will be aligned to our wider programme of work as Sussex Health and Care Partnership. 

We’ve established a new group to drive this work, including representation from experts by experience, local authorities, primary care, the acute sector and third sector. The group’s purpose is to look at the whole pathway of care for people who use adult community mental health services. It will also be responsible for leading the bids for new resources which we expect to become available from NHS England in the coming months to support the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Our success with these Transformation Funding bids demonstrates what we can achieve by working together across the health, social care and third sector to meet people’s emotional, physical and social care needs (rather than as individual organisations). We are committed to continuing to work together to develop a more joined up approach to care so people get the right help, where and when they need it.