Oxford leads drive towards earlier intervention in mental health
The Oxford AHSN Early Intervention in Mental Health Clinical Network has been supporting a key national initiative to introduce referral time targets in mental health for the first time. Oxford is the only AHSN with a dedicated clinical network focused on early intervention in psychosis. The way that services in Oxford intervene early to prevent a crisis later has been identified by NHS England as a template to be adopted across the country.
The Oxford AHSN has appointed an early intervention preparedness programme manager as it starts working with the 15 trusts which provide mental health services in the south of England. A total of £1.2m has been earmarked for this work in 2015. By March 2015 this money will be allocated to specific projects working towards new access and waiting time standards requiring more than 50% of people with a new psychosis diagnosis to be treated with a NICE approved care package within two weeks of referral.
The primary focus is around specific training for thousands of key staff and getting the right data recording systems in place – as well as developing capacity, skills and leadership. These projects are to complete by December 2015. The focus on introducing referral times in mental health for the first time is part of a broader national strategy to achieve parity between physical and mental health.