Monthly Archives: January 2015

Cleveland Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat

Health services, Police and councils across Stockton, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland have shown their commitment to a national scheme that aims to further support people who experience a mental health crisis.

The Cleveland Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, announced on Monday 1st December 2014, is part of a national scheme designed to improve the outcomes for people experiencing mental health crisis.

Neil Harrison, Head of Service – Child & Adult Services at Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Hartlepool Borough Council on behalf of the Hartlepool Mental Health Forum welcomes the declarations made to improve crisis care for people and our action plan will form the basis of a new Joint Mental Health Plan in the Spring of 2015”.

Chief executive of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Professor Tricia Hart, said: “It’s important we work together collectively for people in the midst of a mental health crisis. We need to look at this as we would for any physical health problem to ensure we can provide the best outcomes for people. This isn’t just an issue for mental health organisations, it requires the involvement of multiple agencies including health and social care and the police and I’m pleased we’re doing just that through the Concordat to prevent crises happening, whenever possible, by intervening at an early stage.”

Assistant Chief Constable of Cleveland Police, Simon Nickless commented: “It is a responsibility of all public organisations, in conjunction with the voluntary and third sector to keep vulnerable people in our communities safe.  Cleveland Police has a key role in this and with our partners locally I believe that we are taking the right steps to ensure that at times of crisis people are supported by the right staff with the right skills and there is a joined-up approach to prevention.”

The Concordat will see collaborative working to improve the system of care and support so people in mental health crisis are kept safe and helped to find the support they need – whatever the circumstances, and from whichever service they turn to first. The work will include looking at prevention and will strive to make sure that all relevant public services support someone who appears to have a mental health problem to move towards Recovery.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “Improving mental health crisis care is a major priority and our Crisis Care Concordat is helping make sure people in distress get the urgent, compassionate care they need. I’d like to congratulate the partners involved in the Cleveland Crisis Care Concordat for signing their declaration and strongly urge others to follow suit. Better, more consistent and more collaborative care for people in crisis will not only help those living through their darkest hours to recover, it can also save lives. I want to make sure we cover the whole country by the end of the year so that we rapidly spread best practice.”

A copy of the declaration can be viewed online at:

Chairman’s Blog

This month, I want to reflect on the success over the past 20 months since the formation of the CCG and to note some of the challenges we may face in the future.

Back in 2012, the GPs in South Tees agreed to work together, united by our vision to ‘Improve Health Together’. When we engaged with the public to ask what our newly formed CCG should focus on, there were three key themes which people highlighted – Access, Prevention and Quality in order to improve health care services. I am pleased to say that our commitment to these three areas are as strong today as they were when we were developing the CCG. In focussing on access, prevention and quality, we place a key emphasis on partnership working with, amongst others, member practices, the public, South Tees Hospitals Foundation Trust, Tees, Esk and Wear Valley Mental Health Trust, our two Local Authorities and the Voluntary and Community Sector.

We have continued to develop proposals to improve access to community services and bringing care closer to home whilst making them sustainable for the future. We were pleased to have strong public support for the plans which resulted in the proposals for IMProVE being approved by our Governing Body in October 2014.

In the future, there will be better use of resources which will enable improved care and support for patients in their own homes, high quality community rehabilitation after stroke and less hospital admissions as a result of better alternatives for people.

Challenges for the future include the successful implementation of these community plans, working with our partners to maintain and co-ordinate high quality local primary and secondary care services and to boost the contribution of the voluntary and community sector. We want to ensure that patients with mental health problems get the same access to quality services as patients without mental health problems and we will continue to raise the profile of prevention, screening, early detection of disease, self-management and the support of carers.

At this time of year it is important to remind everyone that there are a number of helpful things that we all can do to reduce the risk of illness in the winter. It is important to have a flu jab if you are over 65 years or are in one of the “at-risk” groups.   It is also important to keep warm, keep an eye on vulnerable neighbours and be aware of your surgery’s opening times over the holiday period. You can also access help, advice and support from local pharmacies.

On a final note, I would like to say thank you for your support and interest in this column. When you are reading this, I will have retired from the CCG and general practice. I have enjoyed great support from colleagues as well as the public and patients, for which I will always be grateful. I am pleased to announce that Dr Janet Walker has been chosen to succeed me as Chair of the CCG. Janet played a major part in the formation of our CCG in its current form and has served on our Governing Body since April 2013. I am sure you would want to join me in wishing her all the very best in her new role.