Work, health and disability - preparing for the Government's Green Paper

bristol city council city hall
31 January, 2017

Commissioners, researchers and people from voluntary organisations heard from Bristol Health Partners Health Integration Teams (HITs) at a lunchtime seminar held at the Bristol Clinical Commissioning Group offices on Monday 23 January. The theme of the seminar was 'Improving mental health care pathways across the Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP) footprint, and showcased the work of five HITs:

The presentations looked at how these integrated teams of service users and health professionals, including practitioners, health and care commissioners and managers, university researchers and third sector organisations, have been working together to improve mental health care pathways across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. The seminar, which attracted record numbers, was chaired by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership's (AWP) Director of Research & Development, Julian Walker.

Whilst the Bristol Health Partners HIT model has been around for almost five years now, over the last two years a growing number of HITs have evolved to address key mental health challenges for local populations.

Each gave a brief outline of why their HIT was set up, the benefits of working in an integrated team, what they have achieved so far, and their priorities for the future. A range of care pathway developments were discussed, including:

  • a new specialist community perinatal mental health service to help with the high levels of referrals to mental health services among pregnant women attending ante-natal clinics at University Hospitals Bristol and North Bristol NHS Trusts
  • a proposed pilot to improve young people’s transition from young people's mental health services to adult emergency services
  • extended Psychiatric Liaison provision for people who self-harm that aims to bridge the gap between secondary and primary care

The presentations were followed by a 'Question Time' panel where audience members were invited to submit their questions on slips of paper for the panel. Panel members were also available for informal questions and networking afterwards.

The seminar also aimed to identify opportunities for collaboration, particularly around STP priorities. Discussion highlighted opportunities to work together and to inform commissioning decisions. For instance, the Psychological Therapies in Primary Care HIT was approached about working with BNSSG commissioners on an STP bid for an integrated IAPT Programme. An audience member from Bristol Public Health was interested to learn more from the Psychosis HIT about its work stream focusing on physical health outcomes (such as weight gain) informed by its research on antipsychotic polypharmacy and metabolic disorders.

Bristol Health Partners and AWP would like to thank Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC) for hosting the seminar and allowing this opportunity to share information on the HITs and their work with mental and emotional wellbeing commissioners, service providers, researchers and others working on care pathway development locally. As the seminar was over-subscribed, we are hoping to run a repeat in the near future and possibly at an AWP venue.