Agenda item


To provide an update on coproducing a new mental health day support service based in Camden.


Alice Langley, Managing Director – Camden Division, North London Mental Health Partnership (BEH-MHT and C&I Trust) and Debra Holt, Assistant Director for Integrated Commissioning Mental Health & Learning Disabilities, NCL ICB/London Borough of Camden, introduced the report on this item which related to the co-production of new mental health services in Camden borough. Alice Langley explained that this had been a collaboration between the mental health Trust and the local authority over the past nine months following recent progress on partnership working and integration. The engagement and co-design process had been completed and the focus was now on finalising the service and staffing model with residents involved in ongoing development and the monitoring of the service. She added that the service was an innovation based on research which demonstrated the positive impact of Acute Day Units (ADUs) on service users and their recovery. The provision of ADUs across the country was quite patchy and had historically been quite siloed and so the intention was to ensure that the Camden ADU was well integrated with other services. The new ADU service would initially only be operating in Camden, but there would be a formal evaluation process which could help to inform future service development elsewhere in NCL. Debra Holt explained that the six core areas of feedback were set out in the report, the service specification was being finalised and that this referenced the feedback received so that it was clear how the feedback had been used to develop the service. It was agreed that the service specification would be circulated to the Committee. (ACTION)


Alice Langley and Debra Holt then responded to questions from the Committee:

  • Asked by Cllr Revah about timescales and the locations of the services, Alice Langley said that the current aim was for the service to go live in April and that this was currently on track. She explained that there had been mixed feedback about the Greenwood Centre with some preferring services to be located in one place while others preferred a choice of locations across the borough. They were therefore currently looking at supplementing the Greenwood Centre with some other locations. However, it would be necessary to consider carefully what this would mean for individual service users in being able to access all of the right services for their needs.
  • Asked by Cllr Revah about the length of the service provided to service users with acute needs, Alice Langley said that this had been a key theme of the engagement work. She noted that there were other existing services for service users with acute needs but it was felt that the ADU would address a gap between community and inpatient services by providing more intensive support outside of a hospital setting. Alice Langley clarified that existing day support services may support people for anything from 6 weeks to 1-2 years. There had been useful challenging conversations in the engagement process about how long services were available for, and the consensus was that there needed to be flexibility in the service, so that people could be supported for a length of time appropriate to their needs. It would be key to be able to easily link people into other services and support after an appropriate amount of time for their needs.
  • In response to a query from Cllr Atolagbe about support for service users after the closure of the Camden ADU based at St Pancras Hospital in 2020, Alice Langley said that there had been a range of community and crisis services available but that this had led to the conclusion that there was a gap that could be address by the new services outlined in the report. Debra Holt added that the local community and voluntary sector had picked up a lot of the demand following the closure, but they were not particularly equipped to support people with acute needs. There were also two other mental health day services in the borough which had been supporting people who required longer-term interventions.
  • Asked by Cllr Atolagbe about the feedback on the service name, languages and on the terminology used, Alice Langley confirmed that the views were being considered and that a new name for the service had not yet been determined. She acknowledged that there were also different views on terms such as ‘recovery’ so it was important to understand these sensitivities as well as the needs of people who did not speak English as a first language and so this feedback would be integrated into the service design.
  • Cllr Connor asked whether the people who had been involved in the co-design process would still be involved in engagement work in the years to come. Alice Langley confirmed that commitments had been made to keep those residents informed and involved on an ongoing basis in order to support the continuous improvement of the service and that the details of this were currently being worked through.
  • Asked by Cllr Connor about the financial sustainability of the new service, Alice Langley explained that the previous funding for the previous Camden ADU service was still included in the block contract along with funding from the local authority, so this brought existing resources together. However, it would be necessary for the evaluation to demonstrate impact to inform potential service development in other boroughs.
  • Cllr Atolagbe requested further clarification on the reference in the report to a Single Point of Access and that this could be included in “a GP App where GPs find out what services are available”. Alice Langley said that an issue that had come through clearly in the co-design process was awareness of and access to the service. GPs were clearly a key access point and so it was important to ensure that primary care networks had this information and were able to use it to support patients.
  • Cllr Revah requested further details about the engagement with the deaf community and support for carers to access services. Alice Langley said that both of these were key groups in the engagement process and there had also been contact with various community and voluntary groups to ensure that they were reaching a wide range of people. Measures to meet the needs of these groups would be included in the service specification. Debra Holt added that some key feedback was that the service needed to be flexible because not everyone could reach buildings-based services at particular times.
  • Asked by Cllr Clarke whether this service would play a part in early intervention, Alice Langley responded that the service was designed to be flexible without rigid criteria so the service users may include people presenting for the first time but may also provide secondary prevention for people with more acute needs who may otherwise require hospital admission. This was why professionals from different services were involved in delivering the service.
  • Cllr Clarke commented that local HealthWatch would soon have a joint NCL-wide structure and Alice Langley noted that the partnership working between BEH-MHT and C&I NHS Trust was now known as the North London Mental Health Partnership, also reflecting the NCL area.


Cllr Connor concluded by expressing the hope that this approach would be successful and taken up across the NCL area and requested that the Committee be kept updated on progress. (ACTION)


RESOLVED – That the service specification be circulated to the Committee and that the Committee be kept updated on progress of the project.


Supporting documents: