Published on: Wednesday 25th August 2021

Our new primary care-based mental health services, which provide people with specialist care at their GP surgery, have been shortlisted for the Mental Health Innovation Award category of the HSJ Awards 2021.

For the first time, these innovative services – called GP Integrated Mental Health Service (GPimhs) in Surrey and Mental Health Integrated Community Service (MHICS) in NE Hampshire – are providing people who have significant mental health needs with quick and easy access to help in primary care. 

People are provided with information and advice about wellbeing and helped to cope with stress and anxiety by a multi-disciplinary team, as well as being connected to a wide range of voluntary sector and community services for help in other areas of their life, such as employment and debt advice. These patients may have previously fallen in the gaps between services because they do not meet the criteria for secondary care services and GPs are unable to provide the specialist care needed. With nine out of ten people are under the care of their GP for their mental health problems, this enhanced support in primary care is helping meet huge unmet need for mental health care.

Surrey Heartlands and Frimley Health and Care integrated care systems (ICS) were awarded £11.2m by NHS England for the Trust to transform existing community mental health services in Surrey and North East Hampshire in line with this vision. Covering a population of more than one million people, the services are a partnership, designed and delivered with local GPs, people who use our services and carers, as well as Surrey County Council and third sector providers Community Connections Surrey and Andover Mind.    

The service’s ‘No Wrong Door’ policy means any patient referred by their GP will be seen. This breaks down barriers to mental health care, helps people before they reach crisis point and reduces waits for patients. The next step in the transformation of community care services is for these services to join together with secondary care colleagues to create “one team” serving their local GP patients.

Georgina Foulds, Associate Director for Primary and Community Transformation said: “These services are a product of extraordinary partnership-working between the Trust, the ICSs, GPs, the voluntary sector, social care and of course service users and patients - co-design has been at their heart. Being shortlisted for the HSJ Awards is a tribute to the hard work and passion of our teams.”

The full list of nominees for the HSJ Awards 2021 can be found here. The winners will be announced during an awards ceremony in London in November.


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