Shake-up for mental health services in Norfolk after £2.85m contracts awarded

County councillor Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher.

County councillor Bill Borrett. Picture: Matthew Usher. - Credit: Matthew Usher

A shake-up is on the cards over care for people who get mental health services from Norfolk County Council - after council bosses awarded £2.85m of new contracts.

The county council and the five Norfolk and Waveney NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) have been working together with Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, service users, carers and other organisations to transform services for adults with mental health needs.

The new provider is a partnership of local mental health providers, led by Together for Mental Wellbeing. The other partners include West Norfolk Mind, Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, Great Yarmouth Mind, and St Martins Housing Trust.

Between them they currently work with around three quarters of the people using the services included in the old contracts but have developed a completely new model of services based on input from service users and staff.

Council bosses said the new contracts, which will start on March 1 next year, will support more than 700 people, but acknowledged there could be concern among people over the changes.

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Bill Borrett, chair of the county council's adult social services committee, said: 'This has been a great opportunity for us to re-focus the service so that we are concentrating more on rehabilitation and reablement.

'We want to enable people to live well at home and regain their independence which the new service will achieve by joining up with services that already exist within local areas.

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'We know that many people will live with their mental health condition for the rest of their lives, but with the right treatment and support we can reduce the impact their mental health condition has on their everyday life and support them to move them towards greater independence.'

The council said the transition of care for individuals is 'paramount' and understood that this can be an unsettling time for both service users and their families.

They said, over the next five months, arrangements will be made for packages of care to be maintained and transferred to the new service and pledged to keep people well informed so they understand what the changes in service mean for them.

The new contracts have grouped services into three geographical areas, with an additional community based intensive support service in the Greater Norwich area.

The localities are: West Norfolk CCG area, Central Norfolk (North and South Norfolk and Norwich CCG), Great Yarmouth locality and Greater Norwich (intensive support)

Cashain David, director of operations and development for Together for Mental Wellbeing, said: 'We are very pleased to be continuing our support for people in Norfolk, building on the work we have done in the county over the past three and a half years.

'We will continue to work closely with Norfolk County Council and the CCGs to implement this new model of support.

'We are particularly looking forward to working with our new partners to continue supporting people to live as independently as possible in their local community, and to make the most of the community resources available in Norfolk.'

The county council needs to save £100m by 2022 and a key way they are looking to save cash is to encourage people to retain their independence, avoiding what the council says can be costly residential care.

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