AHSN collaborations around mental health and dementia

In March 2016, the AHSN Network ran its first intra AHSN learning event focussing on Mental Health.

The need for collaboration and knowledge mobilisation was identified by the AHSN Network’s Managing Directors group to:

  • celebrate the breadth of work being undertaken across the country
  • share best practice
  • collaborate with the relevant National Clinical Directors
  • support the adoption of innovations across AHSNs by raising awareness and sharing resources.

This first event on Mental Health included a presentation from Dr Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for Mental Health, on the most important areas of need for innovation and improvement, as well as a call from patient representatives to celebrate positive practice.

The event also piloted a model consisting of 10 micro presentations from AHSNs combined with an open dialogue space to allow networking and knowledge mobilisation across the AHSN network. See the full  programme here.

Examples of AHSN work showcased

  • The use of checklists to improve the quality of physical health checks for people with serious and enduring mental illness (the Bradford toolkit: Yorkshire and Humber AHSN)
  • A comprehensive new approach to child and adolescent mental health services ( iTHRIVE: UCLP)
  • DeAR GP and House of Memories (two approaches to improve training, screening and empathy in dementia care HIN and North West Coast AHSNs)
  • A high fidelity approach to reduce variation in the treatments and outcomes for anxiety and depression (Oxford)
  • Work to improve outcomes for people diagnosed with psychosis as a young adult (Wessex and Imperial AHSN)
  • An effective whole system approach to prevention of mental health crisis (Raid: West Midlands AHSN)
  • A quality improvement toolkit for Mental Health (MINDSet: West of England AHSN)
  • A person centred and innovative approach to individual placement and support (East Midlands AHSN).

Key learning from the event

  • The many examples of best practice, already developed by AHSNs and their members, which are now ready to be adopted by other AHSNs
  • The plentiful opportunities to collaborate and align innovations, such as the DeAR GP (a tool to identify residents in care homes showing signs of dementia and referring them to a GP for diagnosis) with House of Memories (an app for people who suffer from dementia and their carers)
  • The importance of service push and citizen pull for products, pathways and new ways of working
  • The importance of economic evaluation to aid adoption and spread.

Key follow up actions for Mental Health / Dementia

  • 34 offers of intra AHSN collaboration
  • 27 offers of links to other ASHN projects
  • An offer to compile case studies for wider circulation
  • An offer to compile list of potential collaborations and links
  • Great Manchester volunteered to host a follow up event

Find out more about the various opportunities for collaborations here.

The event was deemed a success with all 15 AHSNs represented and it was agreed the approach would be used as a model for future learning events.

Next steps

  • All Improvement Directors to follow up progress on collaborations expressed at the March event with their own participants
  • ‘Offering’ AHSNs to contact ‘interested’ AHSNs and share details of their innovation and arrange a webex to discuss adoption
  • Schedule a follow-up event (hosted by Greater Manchester AHSN) to include a review of the progress of adoption
  • Agree focus of next learning event and members of the planning group.

The image above is a still taken from a short film about the ‘My House of Memories’ app, designed by and for people living with dementia. Find out more here.

Intra-AHSN learning event on mental health

The improvement directors from the 15 AHSNs across England are looking forward to hosting the first intra-AHSN learning event on Mental Health in London on Wednesday 2 March.

This will be a unique opportunity to hear about the innovative work that AHSNs are supporting in the field of mental health.

The day will allow AHSNs to showcase their work, share best practice and learning points, form natural collaborations and have time to discuss key national next steps with Dr Geraldine Strathdee NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health and patient representatives from Positive Practice in Mental Health.

Anna Burhouse, Director of Quality for the West of England AHSN, worked with the northwest Coast and West Midland AHSNs to design the format of the event.

The West of England AHSN will be presenting their work on a new national quality improvement toolkit for mental health, which celebrates best practice, mobilises knowledge and shares tools and resources for change. This work is a collaboration with many mental health trusts, NHS England, Monitor, ImROC and NHS Confederation. It will be launched in the spring and fellow AHSNs will have sneak preview of it at the March learning event.

Anna said: “As a passionate mental health clinician I believe we have to innovate and improve mental healthcare to make it more person-centred and increasingly focused on how to support important life outcomes for people, as well as the reduction of their symptoms.

“We need new ways of designing and delivering systems that are preventative, effective and recovery orientated. Increasingly, we need to ensure the expertise of people with lived experience of mental illness comes together with academics, health and social care professionals and business to generate fresh ideas and thinking.

“Choosing mental health to be the subject of the first intra-AHSN learning event demonstrates the AHSN’s commitment to this process and their positive role as catalysts for change.”

To see more of the quality improvement work Anna helps to support as a mental health clinician alongside her role as Director of Quality for the West of England AHSN, watch the Health Foundation’s Power of People film, The Recovery College.

Reinforcing the power of AHSNs

Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, Rob Webster visited the West of England AHSN on Tuesday 2 February and was clearly impressed by the work he saw being developed by our network.

Writing in his regular news briefing later that week, he said:

“We need to do what is in our gift within our organisations, as evidenced by the brilliant work on ‘crowding’ coming out of the Bristol Royal Infirmary. The excellent Dr Emma Redfern shared work on National Early Warning Scores (NEWS) and the development of an ED checklist that is saving lives and improving services. The work is spreading across the South West, under the Patient Safety Collaborative supported by the West of England AHSN.

“The AHSNs are currently collating their top three innovations for a compendium – after half a day at the brilliant WEAHSN, they will struggle to get it down to only three each.

“There are some days when you feel you are stealing a living and this was one of them. From the PreCePT work on preventing cerebral palsy in preterm babies to risk factors in atrial fibrillation in general practice, the work is clinically-led, evidence-based and having impact. Lives are being saved, clinicians enthused and the public informed. Check out things like dontwaittoanticoagulate.com and www.openprescribing.net for examples of what they do.

“Thanks to Deborah Evans and her team at West of England AHSN for reinforcing the power of AHSNs. It was timely as Sir Hugh Taylor and I met this week to discuss how AHSNs play into the final recommendations of the Accelerated Access Review.”