Working together to improve access to mental health services in Harrogate and rural district

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley have been working with local primary care and NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group to improve access to services for people with mental health conditions.
Man stood in a hospital doorway

The approach is part of a pilot partnership programme to support GP’s with mental health referrals and improve their knowledge of mental health services.

Commenting on the scheme David Kerr, programme delivery lead for community mental health transformation in North Yorkshire said: “The aim is to create a more joined up and responsive approach to mental health care in the area. We want to make sure people receive appropriate care that meets their individual needs. We have piloted the scheme in the local area for a few months now and it’s having a really positive impact.”

Dr Katie Houston GP at Nidderdale Group Practice, said: “These meetings have provided an opportunity to understand more about how our local mental health services can work for individual patients.

The value of having links to be able to discuss cases before making a referral, to follow a patient beyond my referral and liaise with those involved in their care, is great. The potential opportunity to help shape future service provision to match patient need and highlight areas of unmet need where extra resources could make a difference is really positive.
— Dr Katie Houston

Peter Billingsley, GP and clinical lead for vulnerable people at NHS North Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group has been involved in the initial pilot of the programme says “The scheme has made a big difference in helping to plan people’s care. It provides the opportunity for further discussion with mental health professionals, which ensures that people receive appropriate referrals to the right services and signposting to wider support where relevant.”

Following the success of the initial programme, partners are exploring ways to bring about the benefits of the scheme to other GP services across Harrogate. Other pilot schemes are also in development in York.

If you are a GP and interested in finding out more about how this could benefit your practice contact d.kerr2@nhs.net.

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