Agenda item

Mental Health Update


The following providers had been invited by the committee following the presentation of the Mental Health Transformation Programme at a previous meeting, to present and to provide information of their service provisions:


·       Nigel Leonard, Executive Director of Strategy and Transformation, Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust

  • Jane Itangata, Associate Director of Mental Health Commissioning Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership
  • Robert Waugh, Manager, Thurrock Inclusion
  • Catherine Wilson on behalf of Thurrock Mind


These presentations formed part of the agenda pack and can be found from the following links:


Councillor Ralph thanked all the providers for their presentations and opened the item up to questions.


Councillor Muldowney questioned what was being done to address the digital inclusion / digital exclusion as this had been highlighted more now due to the COVID lockdown, to reach those people who were unable to access the services and how access to these services could be improved as we head into the second lockdown. Lynnbritt Gale referred to the care phone loan scheme that EPUT had and reassured Members that they were not just going digital appointments. It had become apparent from the first lockdown there were people who did not cope well without having face to face appointments so action had been taken to ensure those who had previously had face to face would receive this either at home or within their services and that those services would carry on.


Councillor Muldowney stated it was clear that everything was being done to help staff and users to make that digital change and questioned the decline in referrals and asked whether there had been any issues accessing services and whether any lessons from that could be learnt. Lynnbritt Gale stated that the number of referrals were being monitored which had dropped off considerably at the beginning of COVID by about 50% when compared to previous levels but with the main referrals normally coming from GPs but with those practices now working differently this may have been the reason for the decline in referrals. That levels were now up to pre COVID levels and would include within the winter pressures further welfare support.


Councillor Muldowney suggested whether any links could be made with the local COVID Community Action Group where a lot of volunteers had signed up with CVS if it became the case the Mind required more volunteers to run their services.


Councillor Ralph stated that the initial drop off in referrals may have also been down to those people with mental health or anxiety coming into a lockdown situation where they may have felt safe and secure and maybe they felt they did not need to access the services. Councillor Ralph asked providers where they felt they had got the most right and where they could have improved coming into lockdown period.


Robert Waugh stated that they could have done better with their IT, where the transition onto Microsoft Teams coincided with the Trust having problems with their network which had taken time to configure group sessions and agreed that this delay could have been done better. Robert Waugh also stated that referral levels from GPs had dropped considerably as users were not going to their GPs during lockdown and that nationally in April referrals had dropped by 75%.


Sue Waterhouse stated a drop in referrals had been seen across all services in the initial stages of the pandemic and some people did not want to engage but to shut down and step away. That figures were now back to those compared to in 2019 and in some areas above that figure and could not see that kind of drop again. That they had done technology very well with training that would normally take 18 months had been picked up in days and had worked well with the local authority, clinical commissioning group partners and that barriers had fallen away when people were called for action.


Councillor Ralph stated that stepping and looking back now and seeing what had been achieved was a great credit to all.


Councillor Redsell stated that providers have had to learn to do things differently but had concerns that there may still be a core of people that had not got in touch. Sue Waterhouse stated there would bound to be a core of people who had not reached out yet and to do that had to understand the different stages on the impacts of a pandemic. That forecasts had predicted an increase of 60% in demand for services and that the impacts of COVID were likely to be delivered in a very complex way at different stages.


Councillor Redsell questioned whether people were being picked up before their situation got too bad such as suffering from anxiety or worry. Lynnbritt Gale stated that new models of care and transformation were being looked into and that the new models of care being developed would be around early intervention, preventative measures and building a resilience around people so there was not such a heavy reliance on services. Councillor Redsell said it would be good if there was a “buddy up” service where people could just talk to each other. Roger Harris reassured Councillor Redsell that during COVID the Council’s outreach services such as the Local Area Coordinators, Housing Outreach Team had been operating and had been visiting users in line with Public Heath guidelines and had continued to work closely throughout the community at local level.


Councillor Holloway stated this was such an important item as the number of people who would have mental health problem was so high.


Councillor Holloway referred to the Trauma section of the report and asked Robert Waugh how many team members were qualified at trauma level and what qualifications did they have. Robert Waugh stated that all CBT therapists had more than one year post qualification experience would be trained in EMDR with the majority of those being trained on Focus Trained CBT.


Councillor Holloway asked all providers whether their referrals were seamless so that the user would not need to keep repeating themselves as some of those situations for users could be very upsetting. Sue Waterhouse stated that all the new transformation work that was being undertaken was that when a referral was received and although that referral may not be for that person, that person would take on that referral and ensure that it was directed to the right person.


At 9.15pm Councillor Ralph suspended standing orders to extend the meeting.


Councillor Holloway had concerns on the 37 day wait time and questioned how this could be reduced and how could the support of Members and officers help. Robert Waugh stated this was not a 37 day wait, people would be seen within two weeks were an initial risk and needs assessments being completed and even at this time some people were being seen within a week. Where a treatment plan would be agreed and the majority of those would go onto a group time for change to help them identify how the therapy would work, what needs and what changes to bring about in preparation for therapy.


In regards to the resident’s journey and questioned when residents required services where would they go, who would they contact and what steps were in place to ensure those people were directed to the right place. Roger Harris stated in Thurrock there was Thurrock First who was the single point of contact for adult social care which had been integrated across the three organisations.


Councillor Holloway questioned how residents could be protected from being contacted by those who did not hold any mental health qualifications or had not undertaken the appropriate training to offer such services to residents. Councillor Ralph stated he was a private tutor in mental health who had worked for Thurrock Mind and asked Catherine Wilson to provide a list of courses available and names of those people who ran those courses. Catherine Wilson stated she was here on behalf of Thurrock Mind but would obtain this list and email out.


Councillor Ralph thanked all the providers for their time and contribution to this item.


Supporting documents: