Mental Health in General Practice

Following the successful implementation of the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme funded mental health practitioner role, Norwich Primary Care Network (PCN) recruited eight Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) band 6 and 7 mental health practitioners to support general practice. The roles have been successfully embedded throughout the PCN and development of the role is ongoing, through collaboration with NSFT.

The Wellbeing Service Triage pilot continues to be rolled out across the PCN, providing training to practice administrative staff about patient suitability for Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services and how to make referrals via clinical systems. Five practices have already received the training with plans in place to complete rolling this is out to the remaining practices in the next year.

To further support the mental health team across the PCN, Enhanced Recovery Workers (commissioned by the ICB and employed by Norfolk and Waveney Mind) will be deployed across the PCN. These first contact mental health workers can work with care navigator teams to be able to provide up to six sessions of contact with people with low level mental health conditions. They will provide additional, new capacity within the system and will seek to further bridge the service gap between IAPT services and secondary care.

Norwich is regularly chosen as an early implementer site for new mental health initiatives, this includes the new rehab team, SMI smoking cessation project, mental health deprescribing programme and others.

With this collaborative approach across Norwich PCN and the wider ICS, Norwich PCN is in a strong position to inform how mental health delivery is effectively developed as the roles mature.