NHS England has formally transferred its commissioning responsibilities, for the medium and low secure mental health care of adults originating from the south west, to the South West Provider Collaborative. The new arrangements came into effect on 1 October 2020.
The South West Provider Collaborative has eight partners, comprising five NHS organisations, one community interest organisation and two independent sector companies. The new arrangements see the Collaborative taking on responsibility for an £80m budget, alongside responsibility for the commissioning of care and treatment for around 350 adults with medium and low secure mental health needs. The geographical area covered by the Collaborative is extensive - from Cornwall up to Gloucester, covering 22,000 square kilometres and a population of five million people.
As the Lead Provider for the Collaborative, Devon Partnership NHS Trust holds the new contract with NHS England. Chief Executive, Melanie Walker, said: “The Collaborative has already made a huge difference to the lives of many people who need secure mental health care in the south west, and their families. We know how traumatic it can be to have to travel long distances to see a loved one at what is already a very challenging time for people. In addition, the collaborative has been innovative and brave in designing new clinical pathways and delivered efficiencies that have enabled new investment. We are committed to further progress and we plan to expand our collaboration to include other specialised mental health, learning disability and autism services in due course.
Anne Forbes, Programme Director for the Collaborative, added: “We have worked together in true partnership at scale and at considerable pace over the past four years, receiving both national and international recognition for our work. When we started, more than 50% of patients were treated outside the region – that figure is now less than 15%, most of whom need to be placed in highly-specialised services. We are delighted to be given the opportunity to take our work forward to the next stage and we know that further benefits can be delivered. Our main priorities over the next four years include greater investment into specialist community forensic teams and specialist personality disorder services - while continuing to ensure that we treat everyone as close to home as possible.”
Dr Jason Fee, Clinical Director for the Provider Collaborative, commented: “Our clinicians across the region have been key in leading the significant clinical transformation that has taken place over the last few years, co-designing new pathways of care with our patients and enabling people to be treated within a setting that offers the lowest possible level of security while remaining safe. This is a great achievement and we are grateful to everyone who has been involved. The decision to formally transfer responsibility to the Collaborative has been welcomed by our clinicians and we look forward to making further improvements together. We have already commissioned 78 new inpatient beds in the region, secured £6m in pilot funding for two community forensic teams and repatriated 149 people back to services closer to home. This is great progress in such a short period of time and we are equally ambitious for the next phase of our work.”