Better Together 2018

Date added: 16 March 2018

A pledge to provide all day psychiatric help in hospitals throughout Kent and Medway by March 2019 was made by Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust’s Chief Executive, Helen Greatorex, and endorsed by Kent and Medway Sustainability and Transformation Partnership’s Chief Executive, Glenn Douglas, during a conversation about making improvements in mental health, involving over 300 people, which took place this Tuesday 13 March in Maidstone.
Currently 24-hour ‘liaison psychiatry’ services (providing expert psychiatric help alongside physical health services) are provided at Medway Maritime Hospital and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Thanet with development in hospitals in west Kent soon to follow. NHS England has set a 2021 deadline for this service to be provided in general acute hospitals across the country, which is called ‘Core 24’.  However, Kent and Medway could now be way ahead of other regions throughout England, pledging to go further and faster on making sure this service is in place. 
In her closing address, Helen Greatorex said: “We need to step up the ambition as the people we serve deserve so much better.  So we commit today to taking some bold steps to having a 24/7 liaison psychiatry service across all of our Accident and Emergency Departments in Kent and Medway.”
Glenn Douglas added: “I endorse this approach. We’ve got to do things differently as we continue to strive to give the best service for our patients, making sure we meet their mental health as well as their physical health needs.  I commit, and I know Helen commits, to doing that. So, in 12 months’ time we want all of our A&E’s to have that service.”
The conversation, which took the form of an all-day conference with delegates who currently deliver and use mental health services in Kent and Medway, and other health and care partners, covered a range of topics including social isolation and loneliness, children and young people’s mental health, perinatal, mother and baby care as well as suicide prevention, local care and crisis and liaison psychiatry. 
Claire Murdoch, National Mental Health Director for NHS England and Tim Kendall, National Clinical Mental Health Director for NHS England took time out of their busy schedules to give delegates an overview of the national situation and their view of the immediate priorities for regions planning and delivering health and social care services across the country 
The event also included high profile speakers such as Jonny Benjamin MBE, an award-winning mental health campaigner whose global campaign to find the ‘silent hero’ who saved his life attracted international media coverage. Jonny’s inspirational talk about his childhood, mental ill health and subsequent campaigning received a standing ovation.  Mum and Mother and Infant Mental Health Service user, Zoe Gibson, gave a powerful account of her perinatal mental ill health in pregnancy and her involvement in KMPT’s new Mother and Baby Unit.
A marketplace featured a range of organisations from public and third sector partners, such as Rethink Mental Health; Blackthorn Trust, Age UK, Kent County Council 'Release the Pressure' and Sheppey Oasis Academy. Delegates included representation from NHS trusts throughout Kent and Medway and beyond, service users, carers, the police, schools, colleges and universities and representation from local and regional councils. 

Visit our Better Together page for presentations, questions and videos from the day!