New pilot for mental health support for people with long-term health conditions

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Cake cutting picture
(L to R) Jane Itangata, Senior Commissioning Manager - Thurrock CCG; Dr Anand Deshpande, Thurrock CCG Chair and local GP; Theresa Moyes, Director of Quality & Clinical Performance at SSSFT; and Mandy Ansell, Accountable Officer - Thurrock CCG

Thurrock Council, health and social care providers, and GPs turned out to celebrate the launch of a new therapy service for people with long-term health conditions.

Thurrock is one of 16 areas in England and the only one in the East, that have been awarded transformation funding for a second wave pilot on Increasing Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) for people with long-term health conditions.

The service was officially launched on 10 October to tie in with World Mental Health Day. Theresa Moyes, Head of Quality and Clinical Performance, South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (SSSFT) and Dr Anand Deshpande, Chair of Thurrock Clinical Commissioning Group launched the service, saying it was a forward thinking way to improve overall health and wellbeing of people living with long term health conditions.

The plans are for seven experienced mental health therapists to be integrated into primary care teams to provide support and enable people with LTCs enhance their self-management skills. The focus will initially be people living with Diabetes to align with the development of the RightCare programme. It will then be rolling out to other conditions like COPD and Heart Disease through 2018-19.

Paul Evans, Regional Lead, East of England, Inclusion Thurrock said:

“The first wave of IAPT has been really successful and we are hoping that if we help a person to overcome mental health issues, like depression and anxiety, they will be better able to manage their condition. Living with a long term condition like Diabetes, can be difficult for people to manage, both physically and mentally. We hope this service will demonstrate that looking after the mind will improve a person’s physical health outcomes too.”

By the end of 2020/21 over 1.5 million people with common mental health problems each year will access psychological therapies. People with common mental health problems often also have physical long term conditions such as diabetes or cardiovascular disease. When mental and physical health problems are treated in an integrated way people can achieve better outcomes.

Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director, NHS England

“Mental health issues affect thousands of adults every day. This funding is for new integrated services, which specifically help patients with a long term condition alongside anxiety or depression, or a medically unexplained symptom.

“The plans for integrated talking therapies are ambitious: we aim to see 200,000 patients each year with the help of 1,500 new practitioners in primary care by March 2019.

“This new wave of funding is just one of the ways we are reaching the targets we set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. It’s also really good news, improving care in 40 CCGs including Thurrock CCG and right across England.”

Dr Rajan Mohile, GP, Mental Health Lead and Board member of NHS Thurrock CCG said:

“This World Mental Health Day it’s fitting to launch a service that will make a huge difference to people in Thurrock who live with long-term health conditions. Often the burden of living with health problems can make a person feel depressed or anxious. This impacts on their ability to cope with their condition and manage their own wellbeing. These therapists will be working within GP practices, making it really easy for people to access support. The first practices to benefit will be College Health practices in Grays, Chadwell and Tilbury as well as Thurrock Health Centre in Grays.”

The launch whole audience picture

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