This was one of first joint responses with Healthwatch Solihull. In our response, we agreed that the strategy sets ambitious targets for mental health services in Birmingham and Solihull.
We particularly welcomed the Trust’s ambition to focus on co-production with key partners, patients, families and carers; and to tackle inequality and discrimination. We noted the importance of effective implementation as critical to the success of the strategy. Highlighting HWB’s report on mental health and care plans as an example of the disparity between stated objectives and implementation. We shared experiences of service users to show some of the areas the strategy needs to address.
Feedback shared highlighted issues such as lack of support; poor staff attitudes and lack of understanding from health professionals; concerns with appointments, responsiveness of mental health services and poor access to treatment; poor quality of care and poor integration of services.
We asked the trust the following:
- That the trusts objective for co-designing and engagement needs to have a clear purpose of engaging, key decision points where service users and stakeholders will be involved, and clarity about how feedback will be used to understand needs and inequality issues.
- That they consider barriers and challenges people might face in accessing services when exploring the use of new technologies. Particularly, language barriers, access to digital technologies and literacy.
- To monitor the ongoing impact on mental health of covid-19 and the potential impact on increasing demand on the service and on staff capacity.
During the trusts board meeting on the 28th of October, 2020, the draft strategy was discussed. The trust said the following: This part of our Strategy puts a clear focus on delivering a high-quality experience for our service users, their families and their carers. We have engaged groups of service users and experts by experience to help us to understand what they would like to see in this part of our Strategy. Service users, families and carers can help us to understand how to make improvements. They can also help us to get things right so seeking their views is really important. We have also taken account of feedback that we have received from important stakeholders such as Healthwatch and postings made by service users on NHS Choices/Patient Opinion. In addition, we have considered feedback from the Family and Friends test which gives us a helpful understanding of what service users love about our services and what they would like to see improved.
In our response we indicated that “service user co-production needs to be throughout all processed and activities” and the trust has responded and indicated that: “By 2025 Service User experience: Our Service users and their families and carers will always be involved in shared decision-making about their treatment and care to aid their recovery. We will empower service users to be active participants and partners in their own care, enabling self-care. Co-production will become business as usual” (p134)https://www.bsmhft.nhs.uk/about-us/trust-documents/board-papers/2020/?assetdet1254384=104044&categoryesctl1293096=955