Improving mental health services in Waltham Forest

In Waltham Forest we believe that there is no health without mental health, and we are heavily focused on improving parity of esteem.  

This year, the investment in Waltham Forest mental health services is increasing by around £1.5 million, and we are have some innovative plans underway to increase the quality of care for local people. We are working closely with all of our local health and social care partners, including Waltham Forest Council, North East London NHS Foundation Trust Barts Health NHS Trust , primary care services and voluntary organisations, so Waltham Forest can meet the standards and requirements set out in the NHS Five Year Forward View.

Some of the key priorities are: 

  • Development of a Mental Health Wellness service
    We believe that if people with mild to moderate enduring mental health issues are provided with better information, advice, support for prevention and early intervention services they will be less likely to need to go to hospital. This will be better for patients, and our local health services. We have commission a new model of care to provide this, which involves joint working with public health teams, and have recently begun a pilot to see if this has had a positive impact. The aim is to develop a full business case for this over a two year period and we hope to roll out a full service in April 2017. 
  • Children and Adolescent Mental Health services
    We want to make sure that more children and young people with mental health difficulties are identified and supported in community settings. Parents, carers and professionals should also be confident about how to respond to the needs of children, and we need to support children and young people to be more resilient. In October 2015, we submitted a Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) transformation plan to NHS England, which highlighted Waltham Forest’s unique needs and characteristics and set out the proposed structure for CAMHS. This plan is being assessed NHS England and it is anticipated it will be approved this year.

    Waltham Forest has also been selected as one of ten sites in London that will be part of the i-Thrive Accelerator Programme, which means that from December 2015 we will be given additional support to help children and young people’s mental health. 
  • Expansion of Memory Clinic
    We have run a successful programme to improve the dementia diagnosis rate. Last year, we exceeded our target of 67% by achieving 77.1%. We made these improvements by implementing a development and improvement plan with our providers and by allocating additional resources. We also rolled out a new specification with clear targets and outcomes.
  • Expansion of talking therapies (known as Improving Access to Psychological Therapies or IAPT) for people who are suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. 
    The NHS has a national ambition to make sure that least 15% of people with anxiety or depression can access to a clinically proven talking therapy service, and that those services will achieve 50% recovery rates. In order to meet these targets, we have put additional resource in place to expand the service. This has meant we have been able to commission a high quality service that has enough capacity and is sustainable in the long term.  A comprehensive work programme has been set up to identify new areas that should be included in talking therapies services, for example therapy for women around the time they give birth and after birth, and for people who have Hepatitis C. We also hold regular education sessions for primary care staff and other people in health and social care.
  • Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat
    The Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat is a national agreement between services and agencies that help people in crisis. It is a key priority for Waltham Forest in 2015 and we have agreed a comprehensive plan with our partners. Some key elements include working with the police so they can get fast clinical input when they are dealing with somebody with mental health needs, and expanding the functions of Mental Health Direct (a telephone helpline service available 24 hours a day, every day of the year for people experiencing a mental health crisis).
  • Extended Hours for Access Services
    We have extended our Mental Health Access services so they are now is available from 5pm – 8pm on Monday to Friday, and 9am to 1pm on Saturdays. This means people who need mental health support can be followed up during GP hours and not go to A&E. It has received very positive feedback from local GPs.
  • 24/7 Psychiatric Liaison Services at Whipps Cross Hospital
    The Psychiatric Liaison Service is a single point of access 24 hours a day for all patients with mental health and drug and alcohol problems who go to Whipps Cross Hospital. This has recently been expanded so it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read more about our work on mental health, including our mental health strategy, or get in touch to tell us about your experiences of mental health services.