Improvements are being made to a key mental health service for people in Leicester City.
The Trust has been awarded a five year contract to deliver a talking therapy service known as Open Mind, for people experiencing common mental health difficulties.
The contract, which will begin in April 2016, was awarded by Leicester City Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to bring new developments to the service, designed to give patients greater choice.
The Trust currently provides Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services, known as Let’s Talk – Wellbeing, in Nottingham City and County, Derby City and County, Leicestershire and Rutland. Specialised skilled and accredited practitioners provide psychological therapies (talking therapies) for people experiencing common difficulties including depression, anxiety, panic, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), trauma and stress. A range of different approaches are used, including one-to-one appointments, group workshops, self-help books, leaflets, online and telephone support.
Dr Maureen Tomeny, Clinical Director of IAPT and Clinical Psychologist for Nottinghamshire Healthcare said: "We are delighted to be providing our services in Leicester City. We will be making several positive changes to the Open Mind service which will include the development of a range of treatment options, such as telephone and online support and group sessions. We will also accept self-referrals over the phone and online, essentially making the service easy to access, so that patients do not always have to see a GP first.
"In addition to the IAPT service, we will also be providing a Primary Care Mental Health Facilitator service that will offer a comprehensive assessment for adults with complex mental health problems who are not already receiving secondary care support.
We look forward to delivering the service in Leicester and will be focusing our efforts on ensuring a smooth transition and providing an excellent service.
Dr Jawahar, GP and mental health lead for Leicester City CCG, explained: “The current contract for the provision of psychological therapies expires next April and this gave us the opportunity to review the service and make improvements. We have also incorporated several changes in response to the valuable feedback we received from patients and the public as part of this process, where people told us that they wanted more choice, especially in terms of appointment times and venues.”
The Trust will have the option to subcontract parts of the service to voluntary sector organisations, to ensure equality of access for some of the city's more diverse and often overlooked populations. Appointments will be offered at a wider range of community venues, as well as at GP practices, and at different times including evenings and weekends, to make it easier for people to access the service. Changes will also be made to ensure that, once patients are in contact with the service, they are offered an initial assessment without delay.