Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has today welcomed the news that Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has been named by NHS England as a Global Digital Exemplar for Mental Health.

The news means that Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the main provider of mental health services in the county, will receive up to £5million of funding from the Government as well as additional support to develop new and innovative IT and digital systems to support mental health patients throughout the county.

The Trust has been named a Global Digital Exemplar for Mental Health as part of a plan released by NHS England on Friday (March 31st).  There are only six of these across the country and the Trust has been selected in recognition of its recent IT developments, as well as its overall performance and financial sustainability. One of the Trust’s recent innovations is Healthy Minds Worcestershire, an app providing support to people aged 16 and over who are experiencing problems such as stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.

NHS England’s Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View report said of the Trust that “they are one of the most digitally advanced mental health trusts in the NHS and they have committed to work to become a world class exemplar for the rest of the NHS to learn from.”

The announcement comes just weeks after the Prime Minister, Theresa May, affirmed the Government’s commitment to delivering a comprehensive package of measures to transform mental health support in our schools, workplaces and communities.

The measures announced by the Prime Minister included plans to rapidly expand treatment by investing in and expanding digital mental health services. Digitally assisted therapy has already proved successful in other countries and the government will speed up the delivery of a £67.7 million digital mental health package so that those worried about stress, anxiety or more serious issues can go online, check their symptoms and if needed, access digital therapy immediately rather than waiting weeks for a face-to-face appointment – with further follow up face-to-face sessions offered as necessary.

Speaking in January, the Prime Minister said:

“For too long mental illness has been something of a hidden injustice in our country, shrouded in a completely unacceptable stigma and dangerously disregarded as a secondary issue to physical health. Yet left unaddressed, it destroys lives, it separates people from each other and deepens the divisions within our society. Changing this goes right to the heart of our humanity; to the heart of the kind of country we are, the values we share, the attitudes we hold and our determination to come together and support each other.”

“I want us to employ the power of government as a force for good to transform the way we deal with mental health problems right across society, and at every stage of life.”

Robin Walker said:

“I am very pleased that our local Health and Care Trust has been named as a Digital Exemplar for Mental Health, and will now receive vital extra funding as a result.”

“The Government is rightly committed to using innovation in technology to improve healthcare pathways, and this is perhaps most important of all in the field of mental health, where a variety of factors can often leave patients waiting too long for diagnoses and treatments.”

“I have long argued not just for increased funding but also targeted specialist support for mental health patients in Worcester, and I am glad that this is right at the top of the Prime Minister’s agenda.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For Robin’s speech on mental health in December 2015 see:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm151209/debtext/151209-0002.htm#151209-0002.htm_spnew16

For details of the Prime Minister’s January 2017 speech on Mental Health, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/prime-minister-unveils-plans-to-transform-mental-health-support

For details of the Secretary of State for Health’s recent announcement about mental health service improvements, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/mental-health-and-nhs-performance

For Robin’s previous statements of mental health service provision, see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/worcesters-mp-presses-secretary-of-state-for-hospital-funding-welcomes-investments-in-mental-health/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-boost-for-mental-health-more-emergency-support-for-hospitals/

To read NHS England’s Next Steps on the NHS Five Year Forward View, please see:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/five-year-forward-view/

For information on Healthy Minds Worcestershire, see:

http://www.hacw.nhs.uk/our-services/healthy-minds/