Quality improvement in mental health

Quality improvement in mental health | The King’s Fund

This report explores the potential opportunities arising from the application of quality improvement approaches in the mental health sector and identifies relevant learning from organisations that have already adopted these approaches.

The authors were specifically interested in understanding how and why some mental health organisations have embraced quality improvement strategies and what has enabled them to do so. It explores what changes are needed from senior leaders to cultivate a quality improvement ethos within their organisation.    

Key findings

  • Embracing quality improvement requires a change in the traditional approach to leadership at all levels of an organisation, so that those closest to problems (staff and patients) can devise the best solutions and implement them.
  • Doing quality improvement at scale requires an appropriate organisational infrastructure, both to support frontline teams and to ensure that learning spreads and is taken up across the organisation.
  • Tools and approaches used in the acute hospital sector can be adapted for use in mental health care, including in community settings.
  • Success is most likely when there is fidelity to the chosen improvement method, and a sustained commitment over time.
  • The strong emphasis on co-production and service user involvement in mental health can be harnessed as a powerful asset in quality improvement work.

Download the full report: Quality improvement in mental health

How digital therapies can help treat anxiety and depression

NICE is to start assessing new digital therapies that will help treat more people with anxiety and depression.

Guided self-help, which can track people’s mood or advise on breathing exercises for example, is recommended by NICE guidance to help treat mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

As part of NHS England’s Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme, NICE has been asked to assess digital applications or computer programmes, which will sit alongside face-to-face, phone and online therapy.

Developers of therapy applications are being invited to submit their product to NICE to see if it meets the criteria to be entered into the new programme.

An eligible product will be assessed by NICE for its content, how effective it is at treating anxiety and depression, how cost effective it is and whether it complies with technical NHS standards.

NICE will then produce an IAPT assessment briefing (IAB) on the product which will be looked at by an expert panel, made up of mental health clinicians, statisticians, an economist and a patient representative.

They will look at NICE’s briefing and make a decision on whether the product can be recommended for real-life testing in selected IAPT services, where further evidence can be collected on its effectiveness.

Read more via NICE

Mental health in primary care

This event hosted by The kings Fund in partnership with the Royal College of Psychiatrists and NHS Clinical Commissioners showcased some of the best practice taking place across England in integrating mental health and primary care, demonstrating the benefits for both the mental health and primary care workforce and providing more joined-up and holistic care for patients and service users.

The presentations are available to view here

Improving Deaf people’s access to mental health services

As many as two in three Deaf people in the UK struggle with mental health problems, but most find it too difficult to access psychological therapy.

Guidance for commissioners of primary care mental health services for deaf people from the Joint Commissioning Panel for Mental Health (JCPMH) and Deaf health charity SignHealth, calls for improvement to deaf people’s access to mental health services.

Despite having poorer mental health than the rest of the population, the 60,000 people across the UK who use sign language as their main language often come up against barriers when seeking mental health services.

The guide’s recommendations for commissioners of primary mental health services could make a dramatic change to the mental health of many Deaf people.

Mental health patients to benefit from new digital services

Seven areas across England are set to trail-blaze digital services for mental health patients, which will include innovative apps to improve care and online access to ‘real-time’ patient records. | NHS England

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NHS England has announced funding for seven mental health trusts to enable them to pioneer digital services for mental health patients.  It is intended that all key professionals involved in a patient’s care have access to real-time records – from triage and initial assessment, through to admissions or referrals, as well as transfer between services and follow up care.

The trusts will also develop remote, mobile and assistive technologies to empower patients to manage their conditions and enable family and carers to provide the best possible support.

The trusts will have up to £70m to invest in digital services – consisting £35m with additional match funding from themselves of £35m – in order to become ‘Global Digital Exemplars for Mental Health’ helping the organisations become world-leading in the use of IT, providing knowledge and expertise to the wider NHS in order to reduce time and costs for others.

This is all part of the NHS’ plan to harness technology to improve services and become more efficient.

Tackling culture change to transform mental health services

Mandip Kaur for the King’s Fund Blog | 16th March 2017

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Traditionally, mental health services are delivered by Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) up until the age of 16 or 18 – or when a young person leaves school or college – at which point they’re expected to transition to adult mental health services. It’s long been recognised that this is a poor boundary for service transition, often having a further detrimental effect on mental health.

Forward Thinking Birmingham delivers mental health services for children and young people aged up to 25, combining the expertise of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Worcester Health and Care Trust, Beacon UK, The Children’s Society and The Priory Group. The partnership’s vision is that Birmingham should be the first city where mental health problems are not a barrier to young people achieving their dreams. The transformational changes to the service were driven by the need to address disjointed and fragmented care provision, complicated service models, long waiting lists and rising demand. The service operates a ‘no wrong door’ policy and aims to provide joined-up care, focusing on individual needs, with improved access and choice for young people.

Read the full blog post here

Case Study: Patients value peer support worker in their recovery

A case study from Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, where a pilot peer support service was set up on an acute mental health impatient ward | HQIP

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Image source: HQIP

Towards the end of this pilot, an evaluation was carried out on this ward and on a recovery ward to which the same peer support worker had moved.

A case study demonstrating patients value of peer support workers in their recovery.

View the case study here