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Suffolk County Council's cabinet backs new mental health vision

By Jason Noble, Local Democracy Reporter

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet has backed a new vision for mental health provision in Suffolk – with a detailed plan for how new measures will be implemented due later this year.

The county’s clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) outlined their mental health and emotional wellbeing strategies for the next decade in January, including a radical shake-up of primary care.

The plans proposed to offer GP surgeries a ‘named link worker’, access to specialist community clinics and recovery teams, access through schools and colleges to mental health support and a new crisis model.

Endeavour House, Ipswich (7457395)
Endeavour House, Ipswich (7457395)

A vision for the NHS 111 service to be the gateway to mental health support has also been spelled out.

The new strategy has already been hailed by the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board, and on Tuesday was formally backed by Suffolk County Council’s cabinet.

Conservative councillor Beccy Hopfensperger, cabinet member for adult care, said: “The importance of and urgency to review mental health has never been more critical,” and said the council and NHS services 'must come together to fix a broken system'.

The fresh plan comes as the county’s failing mental health trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust received a third ‘inadequate’ rating by Care Quality Commission inspectors in November.

Eugene Stanton from the CCGs, said that the new four-part strategy would help capture people’s needs earlier, where most were treated.

Liberal Democrat councillor Penny Otton welcomed the 'huge amount of work' ongoing to tackle mental health, but said more was needed to tackle the deprivation which was one of the key causes of mental health problems.

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