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New Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service to launch 1 April supporting people with common mental health problems

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A service providing care and support to people experiencing common mental health problems in Staffordshire is to be made easier and quicker to access thanks to a new partnership of local NHS and community organisations.

Launching on April 1, the new Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Wellbeing Service brings together existing improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT) teams in the county into one, fully integrated service with a single point of access.

It sees Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) and North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust (NSCHT) working together to deliver an enhanced IAPT service to the communities they presently serve.

They will also continue to work alongside Mental Health Matters, the Dove Service, North Staffs Mind, Burton and District Mind and Changes Health & Wellbeing to build on the high quality care and support provided across the county.

IAPT is a national programme that delivers a range of evidence-based psychological therapies for people aged over 16 with common problems such as anxiety disorders and depression.

Treatment is offered in a convenient ‘stepped-care’ approach, allowing those with milder problems to quickly access effective shorter programmes, before moving on to longer therapies as required. The only requirement to access IAPT services is to be registered with a local GP.

The new service will seek to increase the number of appointments available, simplify the referral route and ensure speedier access. It will also benefit people living with a range of persistent physical symptoms and long-term conditions.

Jennie Collier, Managing Director of MPFT’s services in Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside colleagues at Combined Healthcare, as well as with our current partners in the voluntary and community sector to provide a truly integrated IAPT service for local people. 

“This new service will harness the wealth of experience possessed by each partner across Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent to more effectively support and care for local people experiencing mild mental health problems.”

Jonathan O'Brien, NSCHT Director of Operations & Deputy Chief Executive Officer said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to further enhance the IAPT offer to the people of Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire. It is an excellent opportunity for two strong mental health providers to collaborate with each other and also local partners, to draw on the best of existing services and improve the service offering to patients.”

Dr Waheed Abbasi, Clinical Director for the CCGs, said: “Primary care mental health services are essential for our patients and the new model will be integrated with GP practices and Primary Care Networks to provide equity of care and parity of esteem for people with mental health problems. We are delighted to have new services across the whole of Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent, with a single point of access for patients.”