This month I want to highlight the progress we have made towards improving the care for people needing mental health and learning disability support.
Together with our health and care partners, we have a crucial role in helping people with a mental health condition, learning disability and/or autism lead longer, happier and healthier lives.
Driving our learning disability agenda across the local system is the Black Country Transforming Care Partnership (TCP). The partnership aims to transform health and care services for people with learning disabilities and autism by reducing the number of people residing in hospital and ensuring more people can live in the community, with the right support, close to their home.
Over the last year, we have listened to the views and experiences of people who use and work in learning disability services and I am delighted to say that their feedback has been instrumental in shaping and developing a new community service model for adults with a learning disability across the Black Country. The new service model provides enhanced care and support to adults in their local community, reducing the need for unnecessary hospital admissions.
Further development of this type of service is now being undertaken for children and young people with learning disabilities. Engagement sessions organised earlier this month will support us in understanding what care and support is required at different points of a child’s or young person’s life. These insights will then be used to enhance services that support children/young people and their families.
With the prevalence of mental illness increasing, our partnership has been focussing on how we can all work together to improve the mental health of our population. One of the ways we are doing this is by improving access and reducing the variation of services across the Black Country and West Birmingham.
We now have a number of specialist mental health services that are delivering consistent care and support to patients across our four localities, such as our new specialist perinatal community mental health service.
Whilst we have made great progress towards transforming some of our mental health and learning disability services, there is still a long way to go. The NHS Long Term Plan makes a renewed commitment to improve and widen access to care and support. One of the areas we are reviewing locally, is early support for our children and young people.
Finally, I would just like to extend my thanks to all the wonderful teams working across the Black Country and West Birmingham. I was truly honoured to receive an MBE in the 2019 Queen's Birthday Honours List for my services to NHS Leadership. I have always been extremely proud to work for the NHS and would like to thank my colleagues, friends and family who have supported me.
Dr Helen Hibbs
Senior Responsible Officer, Black Country and West Birmingham STP