Face-to-face talks helping mental health

Mental health service users in North East Hampshire and Farnham literally have a seat at the table when it comes to improving local services.

People who use mental health services, or have previously done so, regularly meet with NHS commissioners, service providers and other organisations for face-to-face talks, under the name United Communities.

The programme was set up after patient champion Healthwatch Hampshire was asked by NHS North East Hampshire and Farnham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to find out local service users’ views on improving what was available.

The group meets regularly, pooling its combined knowledge and experience and looking at ways to improve services, working with existing NHS and community resources, and exploring whether other organisations might be able to be involved.

The CCG, which plans and funds the majority of health services provided to more than 235,000 people registered at the area’s 21 GP practices, is continually looking at ways to work more closely with local people.

Dr Oliver Sweeney, acting Clinical Lead for Mental and Learning Disabilities for the CCG, said: “We already work with local people and patients a lot, with some fantastic results, yet the results of Healthwatch’s work showed that for people with experience of local mental health services, there was an opportunity and a desire for more direct involvement.

“There’s a lot to be said for speaking to someone face-to-face on a regular basis because it allows you to build a relationship and a level of trust, and to develop friendships and contacts, in a way that is difficult to replicate by other means.”

United Communities not only involves service users, they also helped design the way it works.

Fi Biggs, of Healthwatch Hampshire, said: “United Communities has evolved into an important feature of the local community as we’ve reached out and listened to what people needed. Local people sat down with us to design this way forward, shaping mental health support together to ensure the opportunity to hold open and honest conversations.

“Even the name itself was created by someone who accessed mental health services. It’s about giving people a voice. This way forward empowers the local community to speak up, get involved and work as one team.”

For more information on United Communities, click here to access its website.

What is a CCG?

A clinical commissioning group is an NHS organisation set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to organise the delivery of NHS services in England.  It is clinically led by GPs and clinical staff who work with patients and are best placed to make decisions about local healthcare commissioning.   Find out more about the CCG

Find a local service

There is a wide range of health services available for local residents. You can the services finder below to search for a service near where you live.

Find a service

Latest News

Innovation Conference 2019 - apply now!

Do you have an idea that could improve the health and wellbeing of your local community?

Read more ...

An opportunity to help create healthier communities…

Healthwatch are supporting your local health and care organisations to find out what is important to you and your family, to help develop future services.

Read more ...
We want to hear your feedback, so please fill out the form below.
1000 characters left

We use cookies to improve our website and your experience when using it. Cookies used for the essential operation of the site have already been set. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

I accept cookies from this site.

EU Cookie Directive Module Information