New Veterans’ Mental Health High Intensity Service in the North of England
Former armed forces personnel will soon be able to access a new service to support them during a mental health crisis.
Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LYPFT) has been appointed as lead provider for a new service to improve the health and lives of former military personnel across the North of England.
The Veterans Mental Health High Intensity Service (HIS) is a new service commissioned by NHS England. LYPFT will lead a collaboration of partners including NHS trusts and third sector veterans’ organisations to deliver the service across the North of England, which we anticipate will begin fully in November 2020.
Our main delivery partners are:
- Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust, and
- Veterans’ support charities Combat Stress and Walking with the Wounded.
LYPFT already provides the successful North of England NHS Veterans’ Mental Health Complex Treatment Service (VMH CTS) – a specialist community mental health service for armed forces veterans – which launched over two years ago.
The new High Intensity Service (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.
We will work in collaboration with armed forces charities to enable a veteran-centric approach to:
- Crisis mental health care
- Inpatient treatment, and
- On-going care across locally-based organisations that are best placed to support veterans near to where they live.
Dr Sara Munro, Chief Executive of Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We’re proud to have been appointed as lead provider for this exciting new service that will improve the health and lives of former military personnel and their families.
“We already have a strong track record working with veterans across the North of England and our expert team is looking forward to getting this new service up and running alongside our partners.
“The service will mainly offer expertise and support to health services local to the veteran, at a time when they are potentially in their most desperate need of help, and ultimately, save lives.”
Dr Felix Davies, Director of Operations at Combat Stress, said: “We are pleased to be a partner in the newly commissioned NHS England High Intensity Service (HIS) for veterans in the north of England.
“We look forward to providing clinical support and evaluation alongside the collaborative led by LYPFT. Combat Stress will be building on the positive relationships we already have in place with the Trust and other providers in north England, as we deliver elements of both the High Intensity Service and Complex Treatment Service for veterans in this region.”
How will the service work?
For example, if a veteran is admitted to a mental health ward, the HIS will offer case management to support the inpatient team with planning and co-ordinating the admission. The HIS service may provide direct support 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).