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Mental health experts will support schools and colleges in Shropshire

By Lisa O'Brien | Health | Published:

Mental health experts are to be introduced into schools and colleges in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin.

A mental health support team, consisting of educational mental health practitioners, primary mental health workers, therapists and team managers, will be set up in Shropshire, with another covering Telford and Wrekin.

Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (MPFT) has been selected to introduce the teams as part of a government programme.

They will support children and young people who struggle with their mental health.

Each team will support about 20 schools and colleges, with the aim of speeding up access to specialist services and building on support already in place.

Neil Carr, chief executive of MPFT, said: “The mental health and wellbeing of children and young people should never be underestimated and I am extremely pleased to see the national commitment which has been made to children, young people and their families through the introduction of mental health support teams.

“The aim of staff who specialise in working with children and young people experiencing mental health struggles is to provide care that will enable them to thrive in the future.

"Therefore, I am confident that the joined up work of mental health support teams and our partners in education and the voluntary sector will play a vital role in enhancing the mental health and wellbeing of local children and adolescents.”

The teams aim to be set up by December 2020.

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Rating

It comes as a health watchdog has rated MPFT 'good' for providing a safe, caring, responsive and well-led service, but it has been told to improve on how effective its services are.

The Care Quality Commission, which visited the trust between February and April, also rated specialist community mental health services for children and young people as 'requires improvement' in all areas except whether services were caring.

A new report, outlining the findings of the inspection, said there were concerns about services in Shropshire.

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It said at the time of the inspection the trust had allocated no staff to assess people for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, meaning the waiting list was getting longer.

Not all risk assessments were updated regularly and care plans within the county lacked detail and did not reflect the views of the children and young people or their families, the report said.

However, it also noted that staff knew how to identify abuse and safeguard young people and regularly reviewed the effects and side effects of medications on each patient’s physical health.

Inspectors also found examples of outstanding practice in the wards for older people with mental health problems; mental health crisis services; wards for people with learning disabilities and the community health inpatient service.

But they said managers had not supported staff through regular clinical supervision in some areas, which MPFT says will be addressed.

Compassion

The CQC said the trust had a good track record on safety and staff treated patients with compassion and kindness.

Mr Carr said: "This is an exceptional result for our staff.

"The organisation was less than a year old when the inspectors visited.

"I am particularly pleased to see that the CQC witnessed physical health care needs effectively addressed within the core mental health services.

"This is the single biggest reason for the merger of the two organisations; to create a single joined-up service around the service user and their family, reducing confusion, duplication and enabling better care co-ordination.”

MPFT was formed in June last year following a merger between South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Partnership NHS Trust.

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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