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Mental health trust shortlisted for glory in national awards

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Lincolnshire’s mental health and learning disability NHS trust and local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have been shortlisted for the highly prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare Awards 2019.

Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) alongside South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group - lead commissioner on behalf of the four Lincolnshire CCGs – South West, South, East and West -  have together been shortlisted for a project which has reduced the number of patients receiving mental health treatment outside of Lincolnshire.

Teams involved in the project identified that patients with acute mental health care needs were often placed in beds out of the county due to bed shortages. National policy states that treatment for mental ill health should be provided as close to home as possible, in the least restrictive environment.

The work included opening a Psychiatric Clinical Decisions Unit (PCDU), enhancing home treatment and support for people in mental health crisis in Boston and Lincoln, and expanding the team of bed managers to 7 days-per-week.

Gareth Price, a service manager at LPFT explained that the teams have seen great results.

We often talk about the importance of providing care for people with mental health problems closer to home and helping people to live well in their communities. We have been working closely as a health and care community over the last few years to see how we can increase the range of help available to people in Lincolnshire.

It is great to see these services are having a positive impact and are providing more timely and appropriate support for people in their time of need. We are absolutely delighted that our staff, in partnership with our local CCGs, have been recognised for their hard work in this shortlisting.

From January to December 2018 the following outcomes have been achieved:

  • Almost halved the use of out of area beds (43% reduction, or 6958 fewer bed days used).
  • 76% of patients who attended the PCDU received care and support in the community and did not need to be admitted to hospital.
  • More patients who needed urgent mental health care received support at home from the home treatment team who have received a 35.3% increase in referrals.
  • Reduction in the average length of stay from 59.9 to 22.1 days for patients who have been placed in an acute out of area placement (63% reduction).

The main impact of the new services is that fewer patients have been admitted to hospital, and more treatment has taken place within the community providing a better patient experience, enhancing recovery and ultimately reducing the number of people required to be treated out of county.

Andrew Rix, Chief Operating Officer, South Lincolnshire CCG said:

We constantly strive to ensure patients are able to receive their care locally wherever possible, without the need for them or their family and friends travelling long distances. 

Partnership working between the Lincolnshire CCGs and LPFT has been key; we are  delighted to be an integral part of this important work which has been successful in improving care for Lincolnshire residents by enabling more of them to be cared for locally, as well as less people needing to be admitted to hospital.”

Chris Higgins, interim Director of Operations said:

It is extremely important to us to reduce the number of patients with mental health issues being cared for outside of the area. We are aware of the negative impact it can have on patients when they are placed away from their home and away from their family and friends, it can also affect recovery time and the cost of care can be higher.

Lincolnshire’s success in reducing the number of patients cared for outside of the area is due to the partnership working between LPFT and the Lincolnshire CCGs. We were motivated by our ambition to improve patient care and make the best use of available resources.  These projects have enabled investment to be redirected back into Lincolnshire whilst allowing us to continue to deliver great care.

The HSJ Value Awards recognise excellent use of resources, and seek out examples of demonstrable improvement in outcomes, both within back office functions and clinical initiatives.

The finalists will be required to present to a judging panel comprising of senior and influential figures in the healthcare industry, ahead of the showpiece event at Manchester Central on 23 May.