Recognising positive change - Sussex mental health trust awarded next level of accreditation for their work with family and friend carers

Local mental health services have been recognised by the Carers Trust ‘Triangle of Care’ programme for their ongoing efforts and commitment to improving the way they work with family and friend carers, and have been awarded the next level of accreditation status.

According to figures released by Carers UK, 1 in 8 adults have a caring responsibility, which equates to 6.5 million people.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services to all ages in Sussex, and children and young people in Hampshire, has been awarded Stage One status for the Triangle of Care programme, which is delivered by the Carers Trust and asks NHS mental health trusts and the people who work there to make a commitment to change the way they communicate with and include carers in decisions about the person they are supporting. 

Separated in to three stages, which each take two years to complete, the Triangle of Care programme focuses on three specific areas of mental health services. Stage one focuses on inpatient services and crisis services, stage two focuses on specialist community services, and stage three looks at community physical health services.

Sam Allen, Chief Executive at Sussex Partnership, said: “I am delighted that the Trust has received national recognition of the progress we have made so far in improving the way we involve and work with our family and friend carers.

“For us to successfully deliver recovery-oriented care it is vital that family and friend carers are included from the very beginning of a patient’s treatment and continue to be throughout their time in our services, working together in partnership to build therapeutic relationships.”

Donna Bradford, Interim Project Manager for the Triangle of Care programme at the Carers Trust recently visited the Trust to peer review the work that Sussex Partnership had achieved in Stage One of the Triangle of Care. Donna stated: “I am astounded by the work that Sussex has done in their first stage of Triangle of Care. It is evident that there is buy in from all levels of the Trust and that the Trust has embraced Triangle of Care in an exceptional way. Their information and involvement is of note and Carers are clearly involved in the development of services and throughout the organisation.

“I applaud the work done and want to congratulate the Trust in their achievements.”

Triangle of Care is made up of six key standards, and focuses on keeping carers included, informed and supported when they are caring for an individual with mental health difficulties.

Jacqueline Clarke-Mapp, Carer Leader for Sussex Partnership, said: “This achievement is the culmination of team working and collaboration with family and friend carers, colleagues within the Trust and across other NHS organisations. I also want to thank our strategic partner organisations including the Carers Centre, Care for the Carers, West Sussex Carers Support who continue to be valued critical friends in this process.

“We are currently working towards our Stage Two accreditation for the Triangle of Care for all our community teams.”

To find out more about the Triangle of Care programme, go to www.carers.org or to find out more about Sussex Partnership and their ongoing work with carers, go to www.sussexpartnership.nhs.uk/triangleofcare