The report provides an update on the work of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust (KMPT).
KMPT had appointed a new Chairman with the Trust welcoming the opportunities available to it as an organisation. This was against the backdrop of mental health having increasing importance at national level. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) rating of the Community Mental Health teams had improved from requires improvement to good. The Ruby Ward, an inpatient ward for older people with acute mental health difficulties at Medway Hospital, would be upgraded. This necessitated a temporary move to Dartford as there was no suitable alternative location in Medway. Members of the Committee were shortly due to visit the Community Mental Health Hub in Ashford. The hub enabled services to undertake more collaborative working and was similar to the Hub that was planned for Britton Farm, Gillingham. It was acknowledged that some GPs were critical of the provision at Canada House in Gillingham and that work was required with GPs to help them navigate the services available. The CCG had been able to provide some additional funding for primary care mental health provision. The way in which therapeutic services were delivered would change in order to ensure a more consistent service.
Work was taking place locally with the Mental Health and Learning Disability Steering Group to identify opportunities for joint working. The Kent and Medway STP had secured additional funding for developing and improving the crisis care treatment team. There had also been success in improving the resource available for Safe Havens. Partnership working, including working with the voluntary sector had increasing importance, particularly in the context of the development of Primary Care Networks. The opportunity to work as part of the Network and shape its development from the outset was welcome. There was a need to improve diagnostic rates for dementia and ensure that people with serious mental illnesses also received physical health checks.
Members asked a number of questions which were responded to as follows:
Liaison Mental Health Service – In response to a question about patient feedback on the liaison mental health service, engagement was taking place with the Enabling Kent programme in order to obtain more robust feedback. Work was undertaken with Healthwatch Medway in relation to particular issues, with Healthwatch also taking part in Mystery Shopping activities. Few, if any complaints had been received regarding the service over the last few months.
Needs of people with complex mental health issues - Medication prescribed to this group, particularly patients with psychosis could have a significant impact on physical health. For example, some anti-psychotic medicines could result in significant weight gain. There was a need to develop primary care mental health services and to utilise social prescribing for those affected by complex mental health issues, although this group was likely to need additional support to engage in available opportunities. 40% of people referred to KMPT had serious mental illness, with this group being far more likely to have reduced life expectancy.
Support for people while recovering – It was questioned what support was available for people who were recovering from mental health difficulties and their families, once their treatment had finished. The Chief Operating Officer of KMPT considered that mental health services had become more fragmented during her career. The piecemeal way in which mental health services were currently commissioned was unhelpful, making the provision of onward support a challenge. The development of Primary Care Networks could help to address this through improved partnership working, including work with the voluntary sector and more joined-up commissioning. There was an opportunity via the Mental Health and Learning Disability Group to consider how to strengthen joint working. It was also suggested that the role of Community Navigators should be extended to include supporting mental health issues.
Future of Canada House – A written update would be circulated to the Committee to advise what the future of Canada House in Gillingham would be once community hub had opened at Britton Farm. It was also requested that this update be provided to the local ward councillors.
Resources for homelessness and dual diagnosis – KMPT was not commissioned to provide services in relation to dual diagnosis, although it was engaged in this work. There was no additional funding available in relation to homelessness but there had been work to develop homelessness hosts in Kent. Information about hosts in Medway would be circulated to the Committee.
The Assistant Director, Adult Social Care said that there had been a rough sleeping pilot in Medway. A Member of staff from Adult Social Care had been seconded to support particular issues related to mental health. There had been a number of positive outcomes. The Community Support Outreach team at Medway Council provided skills for independent living. The interface between services once people were no longer receiving support from KMPT was important to ensure that appropriate support was put in place to help people remain safe and well in the community.
Partnership Working between the Council and health partners – It was requested that a report be provided to the Committee on partnership working between the Council and health partners, including the voluntary sector. The Director of Public Health highlighted work with partners across the UK and abroad in relation to social prescribing. This would enable benchmarking of local activity.
The Committee noted the contents of the report and provided comments and requested that a report on partnership working between the Council and health partners be added to the Committee Work Programme.