Health chiefs asked patients, carers and staff to help shape services at a meeting in Brighton this morning (Wednesday 1 July).
Colm Donaghy, chief executive of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, spelt out his hopes for the mental health trust and the challenges that it faced.
Mr Donaghy, who joined the trust a year ago, spoke about the need to do things differently.
He said that he wanted a better focus on patients and carers and more working with the trust’s partners to improve the patient experience.
He was introducing Our 2020 Vision, the trust’s strategy for the coming five years.
Mr Donaghy said that the strategy was not set in stone but would adapt and evolve.
He also spoke about the financial challenges facing his trust and the wider NHS.
Mr Donaghy noted that working with partners in the community often helped patients and saved money at the same time. This was especially so when it prevented the “ping pong” of patients between different organisations.
The street triage scheme with Sussex Police was one example. As a result fewer people with mental health problems are spending time in police cells as a place of safety. And those who need care are receiving it in a more timely manner.
Better prevention is also on the agenda.
The event is one of a series aimed at improving understanding and finding better ways of working.
One patient spoke about “the drawbridge going up” and changing thresholds making it harder for people to find treatment as budgets came under more pressure.
Carers spoke about medication issues and about the need for better support for patients and carers.
A staff member touched on the challenges of sharing patient information with different organisations – often with different systems – as well as the data protection sensitivities.
Other issues included the need for better communication and whether communities had the right facilities to help reduce the number of inpatient admissions.
In Our 2020 Vision, the strategy document, one section is headed “How we will know we’re on track …”
It said: “People will spend less time in hospital and receive care at home wherever possible.
“Carers will receive the support they need.
“More people with long-term physical health problems such as diabetes will receive the care and treatment they need for their mental health and wellbeing.
“People with severe and enduring mental health problems will receive better physical health care.
“People we support and our staff will feel listened to and contribute to improvement,
“Learning from incidents will be shared and used as a matter of routine to improve care.”
Sussex Partnership staff have about 430,000 community appointments in a year and 52,000 outpatient appointments.
The trust receives about 17,000 new patient referrals a year and about 3,600 admissions to hospital.
It deals with mental health patients, people with learning disabilities and people with drink and drug problems.
Mr Donaghy thanked the 50 to 60 people who took part in the event and spoke about the prospect of holding further workshops in future.