GPs given new award for pioneering mental health care

The St Lawrence team getting award from Cavita Chapman of Health Education England
The St Lawrence team getting award from Cavita Chapman of Health Education England

Four GP surgeries have been given national recognition for leading the way in mental health care.

St Lawrence Surgery in Worthing, Northbourne Medical Centre in Shoreham, Selsey Medical Practice in Selsey and Moatfield Surgery in East Grinstead are the first to receive the new PACE Setter Award after making changes that meant their practices were more mental health-friendly.

Based on the award-winning Children and Young People PACE Setter, the initiative has been developed by a partnership between Coastal West Sussex Mind and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), funded by Health Education England.

Each GP practice is given £1,000 to help them achieve the award by improving services around mental health in primary care.

Coastal West Sussex Mind chief executive Katie Glover said: “We were delighted to present the first PACE Setter awards at our special event in Field Place, Worthing.

“This recognises the work being done that is coming from people’s passion and commitment to help those with mental health problems.”

Coastal West Sussex CCG GP mental health lead Sue Torry said: “The key to the innovations has been actively seeking feedback from our patients who use primary care services for their mental health, and also the practice’s own staff.

“Keeping the focus on the patient has been enabled by the help of some very generous people with lived experience who have contributed their expertise in designing, delivering and judging the award.”

One of the changes St Lawrence Surgery made was to introduce a ‘mental health passport’ which shows what the person’s usual behaviour is, what their unusual behaviour is and what the best ways to help them are.

It helps practice staff recognise when someone is in crisis.

Practice manager Jo Wadey said: “We are making sure improvements continue and we are delighted to announce that Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has agreed to a community psychiatric nurse working as part of the team at St Lawrence Surgery for the benefit of our patients, following PACE Setter.

“We are also excited to continue to work closely with Coastal West Sussex Mind to offer more mental health support for our patients with mentorships, increased support, and new social groups.”

Meanwhile, at Selsey Medical Practice, Dr Alison Parrish said they wanted to make the surgery more welcoming for people with mental health problems. Some of the ideas staff have introduced were to have calming, beautiful local images coming up on the TV monitors in the waiting room, interspersed with information about mental health.

They also brought in some longer appointment options.

She said: “I am an enthusiast for improving people’s lives.

Shining a light on mental health with the PACE Setter award has been really positive for our practice and has given us all the drive to develop so that we can show our patients how much we care about their mental well-being.

“Sometimes it’s the small kindnesses that count and one of the spin offs from this project is for staff to recognise and tap into their innate strengths, including compassion and the nurturing of people in distress.”

Patients and GP surgeries can find out more about the PACE setter award by ringing Anne Johnson at Coastal West Sussex Mind on 01903 277008.