Leading the way for mental health

Belinda and Sarah preview their Pop Up University session at Expo 2017 on Early Intervention in Psychosis services in the South region: 

A record number of people are now accessing high quality Early Intervention in Psychosis (EIP) services in a timely way across England.

That means the specialist community treatment teams introduced across England over the last 15 years are now improving the life chances for over 8,000 people with psychosis every year.

We’re presenting the work of the South region EIP network, which has been supporting local teams to meet the access and waiting time target for mental health, which was introduced in April 2016.

We have worked with a network of clinicians, commissioners, service users and carers to measure the investment, the workforce capacity and the clinical outcomes of each team. We will discuss the work of our network and how we have improved outcomes for patients across the NHS South region over the last two years.

Misconceptions and misunderstanding about psychosis, and schizophrenia, a form of psychosis, are widespread. Public surveys show the common view is of a lifelong, disabling illness, associated with violence and drug use.

People are surprised to hear that 10 years after a first episode of psychosis over half of people have fully recovered, and one in 10 people will have no further psychotic symptoms after their first episode. And yet psychosis, which often starts in late adolescence, can have a huge impact on people’s life chances.

Psychosis affects people’s views of themselves and people around them. It is often frightening and still carries a huge stigma, and in many cases leads to people withdrawing from their social circles.

This is where EIP services come in. They are youth-targeted community mental health teams that focus on recovery and hope. They work around the individual and their family. They understand young people don’t want to attend hospital outpatient appointments and their priorities are likely to be about social and occupational goals, as well as managing symptoms. They are the best of multidisciplinary care – psychiatry, psychology, social work and occupational therapy working together.

There is high quality trial evidence from the UK, and across the world, that EIP services work: they engage young people in treatment early, keep them out of hospital, get them back to work or college, and help people recover.

Over half of people under an EIP service are helped back into work or education. Most, after treatment by an EIP team, do not require ongoing mental health care and EIP is estimated to save the NHS £63million every year.

Over 70 per cent of people have accessed EIP services with less than a two-week wait, in line with the EIP standard. This is well in excess of the 50 per cent target. But the EIP standard is crucially not just about waiting times. It sets out the standard of the care that should be provided – everyone has to have access to the full range of best, evidence based treatments for psychosis. They address the physical, psychological, social and occupational effects of psychosis on the individual, and provide family therapy and carer support for families as part of the package.

Whilst there is some variability in access and quality of provision across the country the majority of EIP services are offering a high quality service to their communities and to young people and succeed in breaking down misconceptions about psychosis on a day-to-day basis.

Find out more about our EIP services by booking onto our Pop-up university session at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017 in Manchester on 11 September at 10am.

Belinda Lennox

Belinda Lennox is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist in the Early Intervention in Psychosis service for Oxford Health NHS FT. She has been a consultant in EIP services for 10 years. Her interests are in discovering the causes of, and developing more effective treatments for, those with psychosis and in implementing those discoveries into clinical practice. She is Deputy Director for the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research for Oxford, and Clinical Director for NIHR Clinical Research Network: Thames Valley and South Midlands.

Sarah Amani

Sarah Amani is Senior Programme Manager at the EIP Programme (South of England) and currently seconded to NHS England (South) mental health priority programme. With experience of leading complex programmes spanning multiple organisations to deliver measurable results, her role involves supporting 16 providers and 50 clinical commissioning groups to implement the new national target for psychosis, whilst supporting NHS England managers to assure delivery of robust service development and improvement plans.

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  1. Kassander says:

    “Find out more about our EIP services by booking onto our Pop-up university session at the Health and Care Innovation Expo 2017 in Manchester on 11 September at 10am.”

    For those of us who are unable to attend will you be publishing via this site, or elsewhere, a resume of your presentation, please?

  2. Kassander says:

    A very early hyperlink to this rather good NHS online information site might have been a good inclusion?