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New Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service in the North of England

Posted: 30/06/20

Former armed forces personnel will soon be able to access a new NHS service to support them during a mental health crisis.

Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) has been appointed as lead provider for the new Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS). Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW) will be a key delivery partner, alongside veterans’ support charities Combat Stress and Walking with the Wounded. The organisations will work together to improve the health and lives of former military personnel across the North of England.

CNTW has been delivering the region’s successful NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service (TILS) since 2017. This is a dedicated service providing a range of mental health treatment for veterans and those transitioning out of the armed forces. LYPFT also provides the North of England NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (CTS), a specialist community mental health service for veterans.

We’re very pleased to be working with LYPFT on this new service that will improve the health and lives of former military personnel and their families.

This is an exciting and much-needed opportunity to enhance existing NHS Veterans’ Mental Health provision. The HIS will work closely together with our existing services, alongside a range of other health and wellbeing services, to offer a complete, comprehensive and dedicated mental health care pathway for veterans. This will ensure veterans experiencing a mental health crisis get the right care and treatment, at the right time, in the right place.

John LawlorChief Executive of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

The HIS will provide liaison, advice and support for health and care services close to veterans’ own homes should they be experiencing a mental health crisis and, following that, provide support for veterans to gain stability in their lives including some support for families.

How will the service work?

For example, if a veteran is admitted to a mental health ward, the HIS team will support the local inpatient team with planning and co-ordinating the admission.  The HIS service may provide direct support to someone for around six weeks – which could include psychological care planning, safety and discharge planning.

The HIS team will provide advice for clinicians for any veterans presenting to their service, particularly when in crisis.  In addition, there will be an out-of-hours advice line for clinicians delivered by charity Combat Stress during evenings and overnight.

Liaison and Support Officers provided by charity Walking with the Wounded will be a key part of the HIS team and will provide support for veterans and their families to improve access and engagement with local health services. This includes supporting their family and wider social networks as well as things like social inclusion, housing, employment and finance.

The HIS will support the production of an individualised care plan. The responsibility for the care plan will sit with the local health service, and our clinicians will be able to contribute advice and support to the local teams to ensure that an effective plan is in place.

This HIS will also provide training to health services to improve the patient experience for veterans, in line with the NHS Long Term Plan and the Armed Forces Covenant. (This will be complementary to the training provided by Veteran’s Mental Health Transition, Intervention and Liaison Service, and Complex Treatment Service (TILS).)

Read more about this service on LYPFT’s website.

It is anticipated that the service will launch fully in November 2020. Recruitment will begin shortly, and posts within CNTW will be advertised at https://www.cntw.nhs.uk/careers/vacancies/.