Plymouth’s work to improve mental health gets national recognition

by | Tuesday, October 9th, 2018 | News

Plymouth has received national recognition for its pioneering work to improve the city’s mental health with a visit from Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director for NHS England.

The visit, on Friday, October 5, started at the Wellbeing Hub at the Jan Cutting Centre – the first of 12 Wellbeing Hubs planned for Plymouth designed to provide more support for health and wellbeing in the community, before going to the Glenbourne acute mental health in-patient unit, rated as outstanding by regulators the CQC and run by Livewell Southwest, which cares for people who need intensive support.

At the hub, Claire Murdoch saw examples of partners working together to help and support people with anxiety and depression and preventing it developing into more serious illness. She met volunteers from Colebrook South West and peer support volunteers from charity Heads Count who launched a crisis café at the centre in July, and heard about social prescribing.

Wellbeing Hubs are a feature of Plymouth’s joint integrated commissioning strategy agreed by Plymouth City Council and NHS Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group. The aims of the strategy are:

  • To improve health and wellbeing outcomes for the local population
  • To reduce inequalities in health and wellbeing of the local population
  • To improve people’s experience of care
  • To improve the sustainability of our health and wellbeing system

At the Glenbourne Unit Claire Murdoch undertook a tour of the unit including the place of safety suite, specifically designed as a comfortable and calming space where people at risk to themselves or others are brought in an emergency, as an example of close working between health and police staff.

A round table discussion with Dr Adam Morris, Livewell’s chief executive, Sara Mitchell, Livewell’s strategic mental health lead, and Glenbourne senior staff, was joined by Ann James, chief executive of University Hospitals Plymouth (UHP), Plymouth MP Johnny Mercer, and Carole Burgoyne, Plymouth’s Director for People.

Topics included the work being done to embed mental health support in schools, create mental health partnerships in primary care and joint working by UHP, Livewell and children’s social care to make it easier for families and young people to get mental health support.

A registered mental health nurse for the past 34 years, Claire Murdoch is also Chief Executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust.

The visit was hosted by Plymouth City Council, Northern, Eastern and Western Clinical Commissioning Group, The Wolseley Trust, and Livewell Southwest. It comes just over a week before the launch of Plymouth’s second Wellbeing Hub at Four Greens Community Trust. The launch takes place on Friday 12 October at the Whitleigh Hub building, Four Greens  Trust 15 Whitleigh Green, Plymouth PL5 4DD, from 12.30pm to 2pm.

Claire Murdoch said: “Hearing how your wellbeing, community and in-patient mental health  and the acute services are all working together with a focus on mental health is music to my ears. What I have seen here today with integrated working across all ages and sectors is a real exemplar and I am very impressed.”

Dr Adam Morris, Chief Executive of Livewell Southwest said: “This was a really exciting opportunity to highlight the work we are doing with our partners, driving new ways of delivering and improving the services we provide by investing in prevention and partnerships. Claire Murdoch is currently working on the 10 Year Plan for the NHS, and we very much appreciate her interest in what we are doing as she seeks examples of good practice and innovation.”

Councillor Tuffin said: “We were delighted to welcome Claire Murdoch to Plymouth to showcase all the fantastic work our partners are doing to improve mental health in the city. Improving wellbeing and mental health is the theme for Thrive Plymouth this year and we have already had a number of high profile national visits including Duncan Selbie from Public Health England who chose Plymouth for the regional launch of the Prevention Concordat for Mental Health, and Simon Stevens, Chief Executive of NHS England, who officially opened the first Wellbeing Hub for Plymouth in March.”

Dr Shelagh McCormick, Chair of the CCG Western Locality Board said: “It was a great opportunity to demonstrate the fantastic partnership working in Plymouth between health, social care and the voluntary sector. The help being given to people with mental health issues at the Wellbeing Hub is absolutely crucial to keeping people well and independent.”

You can find out more about Plymouth’s Wellbeing Hubs and social prescribing in this short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxJOzjdAOMQ