Dear MHICC stakeholder,

We are writing with an update on the relaunch of the Mental Health Integrated Community Care (MHICC) project. Thank you for having been part of this and I hope that this update on the relaunch is welcome news.

The programme was paused during the third wave of COVID 19, following which there was a period of review of the project governance, structure and finances. It has been agreed that a number of elements of the project will be led as part of the Dorset HealthCare transformation programme and the Trust will oversee the project structure of this. The project is re-launching in an increasingly challenging financial landscape and the revised project structure aims to ensure clear parameters from the outset so that change can be realised and sustained.

The pause period took longer than anyone hoped for, but having undertaken this, we believe we are now able to move forward with clarity. The work and investment made in the MHICC to date has not been wasted, there is clear intention to build on this work ensuring that as a system we continue to innovate and make the best possible use of all resources, financial and otherwise.

To date, much has been achieved and we have had excellent engagement from local people, who access mental health services, or support friends or family members or are just passionate about mental health, as well as many Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations and colleagues working across the system. This has provided us with a comprehensive view seeking and intelligence report to understand the current mental health offer in Dorset, and what needs to change.

Dorset HealthCare (DHC) remains wholly committed to an integrated approach to delivering Mental Health Services and acknowledges the wealth of expertise that exists throughout the system.  We are challenging ourselves not just to ‘build new’ around the existing services, but to also fully review existing community mental health services and pathways.

By focusing on community mental health services, we have an opportunity to ensure that all voices and perspectives are considered alongside best practice and national guidance; we aim to build upon on the strengths of the existing work undertaken within services and in the wider community and seek to address the gaps and challenges across the mental health system. As part of this we will also be working more closely with Primary Care Network colleagues looking to test mental health practitioner roles in 21/22 as part of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme, to ensure this work happens as part of the wider community transformation.

Alongside this, the intention in the short term is to continue dialogue and work to date exploring the role of the VCSE sector in providing direct support to people presenting with mental health concerns with the aim of progressing the co-produced concept of a mental wellbeing hub in localities/areas identified with high levels of need using a limited non-recurrent funding stream.  Some of you previously signed up to a number of MHICC expertise groups and we are grateful for the offer of your time and input to these groups. We have reviewed the number and remit of the groups and revised these in line with the updated project structure. The revised groups will be structured as follows:

Stage One

Pathway design groups – coproduced groups responsible for designing a draft pathway covering both the clinical and ‘building your life’ elements of a mental health offer. These groups will have representation from the VCSE sector, people with lived experience, and a range of primary and secondary care clinicians. There will be six groups in total based around key diagnoses or needs e.g. a psychosis pathway group.

Stage Two

Cross check groups – Once the pathway design groups have produced initial draft pathways, stage two of the project will see a number of cross check groups reviewing and adding to the pathways from a range of perspectives, in particular those groups who are often poorly served by mental health services or may have multiple complex needs. The purpose is to ‘stress test’ the pathways and ensure they are fit for purpose for the people we serve. In addition during stage two, there will be groups looking at the available resources and necessary investment required to deliver the proposed pathways.

The way in which we ensure consistency, accountability and the quality of what we do (the governance structures) for stages one and two are included here for your information.

Next Steps

We acknowledge that with over 600 individuals expressing an interest in the MHICC; it has not possible to accommodate everyone who has expressed an interest into one of the pathway design groups. We want to give our assurances that the invitations to attend the design groups have been thoughtfully considered and represent the community in Dorset and will include voices from a range of experiences and sources of expertise. We are committed to providing opportunities for those not in the design groups to still feel part of and contribute to the process and we will be offering regular updates through our communication and engagement plan running throughout the project. We would like to give assurances that the design groups are not the final decision makers and all draft pathways will go out for wider cross check, giving persons not directly involved in the groups an opportunity to contribute.

The next steps will be to launch the stage one groups in August 2021 and group members will be contacted directly about these. We anticipate these will run until November 2021, following which we will stand up the stage two groups. We remain hopeful that there will not be factors beyond our control that disrupt this plan, but will keep you informed if this becomes the case.

People remain at the heart of this work; people who access services, their families and staff who work in them will all be offered an opportunity to contribute their perspectives and experiences to shape sustainable, evidenced based provision of mental health support.

With thanks and best wishes

Pete Jeffery,

Service Director, Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Services (interim)

Dorset HealthCare