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More investment for mental health services in Norfolk and Waveney

NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has received the green light from NHS England & Improvement to go ahead with a programme of work to join up organisations providing community mental health (MH) services across the health and social care system in the area.

The Norfolk and Waveney Health and Care Partnership is using mental health transformation funds to improve services for adults and older adults. The funding of just over £2 million to spend in 21/22, will be used to improve access to services for adults with moderate to severe mental health conditions including eating disorder, those in need of mental health rehabilitation and those with a personality disorder. Increased funding will be available for the next 2 years to address the social causes that impact on mental health, tackle inequalities and support people to live better in the community.

The money will be used to fund new roles e.g. dedicated mental health practitioners and recovery support workers based in primary care networks and GP practices, and part-fund well-being hubs enabling earlier and easier access to mental health support. Changing existing services to work differently is also a key focus and the model will include health and social care, the voluntary sector and local government (housing). The design of the model is being developed with people who are already using these services to ensure that their needs and priorities shape the model.

This new investment will support GPs and the development of a wider community-based team to care for people closer to home.

Melanie Craig, Chief Executive of NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said: "This new investment will allow us to offer faster support and guidance for patients. They will be supported to look after their own needs with support from experts based in their local communities. We know that it is easier for people to access services via their GP and this partnership approach will look to address the wider causes of mental ill health, such as housing, employment and social connections. We're delighted to be able to announce such good news for the local area.”

Dr Ardyn Ross, GP and Mental Health Clinical Lead for NHS Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "Acceleration of our staff recruitment programme and the development of service plans will begin immediately. Additional developments include the opening of our wellbeing hubs across Norfolk and Waveney where people will be able to drop in, without an appointment, to discuss their health and wellbeing and any issues that are affecting their mental health. This will include those experiencing significant mental distress. We are committed to meeting the mental health needs of anyone in Norfolk and Waveney in an open and practical way. This investment is an important step."

Dr Adam Morris, interim chief executive at Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) said: “We know that the pandemic has had a severe and lasting impact on the mental health of many people in Norfolk and Waveney.

“Supporting people's mental health needs many organisations to work together. We are looking forward to working with service users, GPs and our voluntary and community organisations to do that.

"This investment will help us all improve the experience of people who use our services. Bringing safe, effective and responsive mental health services closer to where people live and work.”

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