City and Hackney Primary Care Mental Health Alliance wins national mental health innovation award for their work in improving physical health outcomes for residents with severe mental illness
The judges stated ‘we are delighted by the way organisations have come together and merged plans for integrated care. It was impressive to see how the services have been aligned to address significant healthcare inequalities, physical wellbeing and serious mental health.’
The Alliance also received ‘Highly Commended’ certificates for the categories Primary Care Innovation of the Year and Community or Primary Care Service Redesign, London and the South.
City and Hackney’s Primary Care Mental Health Alliance is made up of the health and care organisations focused on helping residents with mental illness in primary care settings. Working as a team they share aims, targets, knowledge, skills and information. The Alliance is chaired by the City and Hackney GP Confederation and includes all 41 local GP practices, East London Foundation Trust which provides specialist mental health care in local communities, the Clinical Effectiveness Group Centre for Primary Care and Public Health, which provides healthcare analytics and data, and NHS City and Hackney Clinical Commissioning Group.
City and Hackney has the fifth highest prevalence of Severe Mental Illness (SMI) in England and people with severe mental illness are at risk of far poorer physical health outcomes including long term conditions and reduced life expectancy.
Initial findings from the Alliance showed that physical health check coverage was variable, with a significant number of SMI patients not attending their GP practices regularly. City and Hackney patient groups also highlighted the need to improve the collecting and sharing of information to avoid the same questions being asked by different organisations.
Through team work, the alliance was able to break through organisational boundaries and create a new SMI physical health pathway. Health checks were standardised, data systems were unified, healthcare assistants (HCAs) were employed to work across secondary and primary care and to make home visits to the most vulnerable. Finally healthchecks were linked to wellbeing interventions such as Core Sport.
The result was that in 2018-19, City and Hackney achieved the highest annual physical health checks in England (71.6% of its SMI population).
Dr Rhiannon England City and Hackney CCG Mental Health Clinical Lead has said “Winning this award is fantastic and a real recognition of the whole Alliance’s hard work, including the amazing contribution of primary care. We have worked hard to improve the healthcare of the most vulnerable service users because this is the true measure of inequality reduction.”
Dan Burningham, Mental Health Programme Director at City and Hackney CCG has said:
“The Alliance brings together a diverse range of organisations and has provided a really good forum for us to thrash out differences in culture and systems until we created something really coherent and exciting. What the alliance achieved in terms of the NHSE physical health target was brilliant, but what was equally satisfying is that we created something, which went well beyond physical health checks, empowering service users to become proactive agents in monitoring and improving their own physical health and mental wellbeing”.
Jane Milligan, Accountable Officer for North East London Commissioning Alliance and Executive Lead for East London Health and Care Partnership has said: “I’m extremely proud of the work that has gone into this amazing achievement and pleased that it has been recognised by the wider health and care community from across the country. This is a brilliant example of the value and what is possible with joint working and co-production in action.”