Guest blog from Jonathan Wells, Director of Healthwatch Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.
Jonathan is a mental health professional of 34 years’ experience, who remains deeply committed to the best possible mental health care for those who might need it (now and in the future), and their families.
Our Healthwatch has been closely involved from the start of the sustainability and transformation partnership (STP). Part of the STP is about helping key agencies come together and plan “as one” for better mental health services. This has been one of Healthwatch’s top priorities both locally and nationally. Progress has been slow at times, but momentum is now developing and people with mental health conditions and their families are strongly represented in the work that is underway.
This summer we have set up a new Mental Health Communities Group which is part of the STP framework. Its purpose is to improve mental health services across all agencies and all age groups, recognising that we can work much more effectively together even with the limited funding available.
I think the group’s appreciation of the public perspective is shown by what has happened in recent months when I was voted by the members to become vice chair of the group. I have made it clear to the Clinical Commissioning Group that through this central role I will bring a different perspective. When I chaired my first meeting in July, I asked that no NHS jargon should be used, and I stated that at the end of the meeting we would ask ourselves as a group what we had actually achieved!
I have made it clear that the public want access to high quality care and that they are often not getting this now. I have said that this should take up as much, if not more, attention than implementation of new services required by NHS England. Through my links with service user and carer groups such as the SUN Network and Rethink Carer Support, I am in a good position to hear about people’s experiences of mental health care. I remain strongly committed to speaking on behalf of the public in this new role.
It Starts With You
Everything we do starts with what local people tell us. Share your experiences and ideas to help services hear what works, what doesn’t and what you want from care in the future. No matter how big or small the issue, tell us about it. If it matters to you then it’s very likely it matters to someone else.
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