Collaboration helps integrated service achieve key milestone

This week, a landmark target was reached by a pioneering service in Camden and Islington that aims to integrate physical and mental health care for service users with psychosis.

As part of the first phase of the roll-out of the Integrated Practice Unit (IPU) for Psychosis at Camden & Islington NHS Foundation Trust (C&I), more than 400 special mental health questionnaires – known as Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMS) – have been completed by service users.

The PROMS assess service users’ quality of life, their care management, and potential side effects of prescribed medication and substance abuse, providing essential feedback on their experience of services and the care they’ve received. The number reflects 100% achievement of the Q3 target, with questionnaires still coming in.

The PROMS questionnaires will be completed annually by service users and are a vital means by which the Trust will be able to assess the successful outcomes of the IPU.

Debra Holt, Assistant Director of Commissioning – Mental Health at Camden CCG said: “The IPU, which is jointly funded by Camden and Islington CCGs, aims to reduce the premature age at which people with serious mental illness die, compared with the rest of the population. This is, on average, 15 to 25 years earlier.

“Achievement of this target represents a huge team effort. It highlights the impact we can have when NHS services and service users collaborate to develop and implement a model that works to best meet the needs of all service users and achieve shared outcomes.”

It is expected that in 2017, GP patients will also be included in the data, which will give an even more detailed representative picture of the thousands of people across Camden and Islington with psychosis.

Andy Stopher, C&I Deputy Chief Operating Officer and IPU Strategic Lead, said: “This insight will give us a baseline for the years ahead, to assess if we are doing things better and more inclusively, and whether that is having an impact on the target population in terms of the quality of life – meaning they live longer, happier and more fulfilling lives” .

Within its first six months of implementation, this collaborative approach to combining the physical and mental health treatment of people with psychosis is making strong progress and benefiting service users.

It is predicted that more effective coordination between mental health, GP and hospital teams could benefit an estimated 7,000 people with serious mental illness across Camden and Islington.

Some key developments as part of the implementation of the IPU include:  

  • more rigorous health monitoring of service users’ physical and mental health needs through a specific screening tool
  • physical health training and upskilling for mental health staff to cover conditions such as diabetes and lung disease
  • a supporting programme to help patients stop smoking, with staff training; encouraging results amongst service users
  • expansion of wellbeing clinics led by psychosis teams, including in GP surgeries, to improve overall physical and mental health; staff training on screening for lung disease
  • regular meetings with clinicians from all partner organisations in a psychosis clinical group to plan care pathways, clinics and training
  • working with service users to encourage “self-management” on exercise and weight
  • expert advisory group of service users and charities to co-produce work.