Launch of Sussex mental health innovation programme

30 June 2023

Health and social care teams in Sussex are coming together to rethink the way they provide mental health services for people who are in need of urgent help, as well as those being treated in the community.

Sussex Partnership is launching a mental health innovation programme, on behalf of the Sussex health and care system, to find new ways to provide the very best support and care for people with mental health problems.

The first phase of the programme involves a week of activity in Brighton and Hove (3 - 7 July), coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the NHS on 5 July.

This will be followed in the months ahead by a series of similar events across Sussex to reset the way mental health services are delivered, and provide a collective focus on making changes to ways of working and improving patient outcomes.

Dr Jane Padmore, Chief Executive of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:

"This is a week for leaders, clinicians and supporting staff to work together, alongside patients, to try and unlock some of the barriers to timely high-quality care. We want to see if we can find new ways of working with each other, and our patients, to get the right outcomes for people in our services.

"We will be learning rapidly as we work and studying how new approaches might help us transform mental healthcare in Sussex. The aim of the week is to think creatively, with the support of senior managers on the ground, about how we make sure people receive timely and appropriate care that best meets their needs."

The week will focus on several areas including what might be possible to reduce the length of time patients remain in the Emergency Department, increase the alternatives to hospital admission, reduce the length of stay on wards and reduce the numbers of patients whose onward care is delayed either because they need support outside hospital including any accommodation needs.

Dr Peter Aitken, Chief Medical Officer at the Trust said:

"As the NHS turns 75, it's vital we keep looking for new ways of providing care to respond to the needs of our local communities. We need to be bold, creative and innovative in the way we work with other agencies, including the voluntary sector. Above all, we need to harness our collective energy and expertise to get the best outcomes for patients."

As a health and social care system we have seen a significant increase in the level of need for mental health services during recent years and we want to use our existing resources to find creative, new ways of collaborating in the interests of patients.

The programme is one step in implementing the NHS Sussex shared delivery plan which features mental health as a key component.