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The launch of the new Mental Health Dementia and Neurology Intelligence Networks (MHDNIN) represents a “revolution in information”.
That is the view of Dr Geraldine Strathdee, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Mental Health, who said: “I am absolutely delighted to be part of this launch which marks the culmination of many months of partnership working between the thirteen national agencies that provide mental health information.
“This is just the very start of the mental health information revolution. NHS England strategic clinical networks and academic health science centres are now supporting the testing of the commissioning care pathway profiles in their localities and we will make changes in line with their feedback.
“More than 300 commissioners, clinical and academic experts, service users and quality improvement champions have generously contributed their time to produce this programme, and we are very grateful to them and their employers.”
They will support the delivery of improved physical and mental wellbeing services in local areas aimed at reducing the negative impacts of ill health.
The networks will operate collectively and will provide commissioners, local decision makers and other health professionals with authoritative intelligence, research and evidenced best practice.
They provide indicators about risk factors, prevalence, access to services, outcomes and finance, and include profiling tools.
Tools relating to Children and Young Peoples Mental Health, co-existing mental health and addictions issues and dementia are under development, and all indicators will be rolled out formally at the end of this year.
Alistair Burns, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Dementia, added: “The launch of the dementia intelligence network is of crucial importance to the field. We know that the provision of high quality information is key to changing services for the better and it is fair to reflect that.
“Compared with other conditions, dementia has not been awash with data but that is set to change. Our external reference group will identify the key areas where data can help improve services and be used to enhance the patient journey.
“The data network is important because it will enable commissioners to better understand local needs and issues for dementia, benchmark services, make best use of resources, respond to the needs of local communities, to manage and understand variation in practice, to support transformation of services, and brings a focus on the importance and value of the right data in the right place for the right reasons.”
Health Minister Norman Lamb said: “Time and again we’ve seen that better information leads to better care. These Networks will be hugely important to help providers use data and intelligence in ways that will help improve services. It will also be an invaluable assistance to commissioners.
“I am absolutely determined to make sure mental health care is on a par with physical health care. Our mental health action plan sets out 25 priorities for essential change to make this a reality – including a long overdue information revolution which these Networks will help spark. I look forward to seeing how this new, centralised information contributes to the progress we are making.”
Other speakers at the high profile launch in London included Public Health England’s Chief Knowledge Officer Professor John Newton, who said: “The intelligence networks can achieve something truly remarkable by bringing together diverse information on important health issues. Making all this data available in one place significantly increases the chance of it being used to improve health and wellbeing in communities across the country.
“It’s essential that this work is a true partnership as a wide range of people including clinicians, policy-makers, and carers have a contribution to make in helping to build these networks. A common understanding of the essential data and information is often the first step to developing joint solutions.”
Participants at the launch were able to explore and test the range of resources available and consider how they will be most useful for local systems.
Delegates also heard how plans are being made for refining and developing the website through a period of engagement with users.