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An introduction to the Mental Health Collaborative

Andrea Byles, Mental Health Collaborative Programme Lead, introduces the work of the collaborative.

I first became involved with the South of England Mental Health Collaborative (MHC) in 2014 as the Programme Manager for Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. After attending my first Learning Session I quickly became passionate about all things MHC. I couldn’t believe that we could ‘shamelessly steal’ other Trusts ideas and did not have to reinvent the wheel! I was also impressed by the culture and openness of the session. Now five years later I feel very lucky and proud to be the Programme Lead.

Our aim is to make care safer by improving quality in mental healthcare. The MHC empowers people with lived experience and healthcare staff to work together to identify and develop solutions to local problems. These are then implemented and tested within their local areas before being shared at the learning sessions with others.

We have a membership of 11 mental health trusts across the South of England and are sponsored by the West of England and South West of England AHSNs. A multi-disciplinary faculty of experts from across the area provide leadership and each trust has a dedicated Programme Manager as our link to the trusts in the programme. It is the longest running Mental Health Collaborative in the country, starting off in 2009 as the South West Quality & Patient Safety Improvement Programme.

We facilitate three learning events a year and use the 3Ls (Learn, Live, Lead) framework to enable delegates to assess their knowledge of Quality Improvement (QI) and attend the right learning workshop for them to develop their QI skills. So whether you’re a learner and have very little knowledge of QI or the Model for Improvement, or have some knowledge and practice of QI within your local area or team (living), or are leading QI work within your trust we have a workshop to further your QI development.

Our events create a safe space and time to work on patient safety issues and provide opportunities to continually learn from each other. We have national presenters at each event to enable delegates to hear about national workstreams and how this will fit with their local work.

Trusts also present improvement work that is happening within their trusts in order that others might ‘shamelessly steal’ their ideas and innovations to spread within their own areas.

For 2018/19 our focus has been on ‘learning from deaths in mental health’. At the March 2019 learning session 100% of member trusts presented their local improvements on learning from deaths in mental health.

You can find out what it’s like to attend a learning session on our Youtube channel: Mental Health Collaborative

For further information on the MHC visit the website or follow us on Twitter @IQMentalHealth


Posted on September 12, 2019 by Andrea Byles, Mental Health Collaborative Programme Lead

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