20 January - Mental Health Network webinar - Governance during the COVID-19 pandemic

21 January 2022

This week’s session was joined by Tom Cahill, National Director for Learning Disabilities and Autism, NHS England, who provided an overview of the health inequalities faced by people with learning disabilities and autism.

He also outlined the NHS England programme to reduce the number of people with learning disabilities and autism in mental health inpatient care; improving the quality of inpatient care; improving and tackling health inequalities; developing community support and alternatives to admission; providing assessment, diagnostics and support services for autistic people; and developing appropriate support for children and young people with LDA and workforce.

Overheard during the discussion:

“There is still too much commissioning in the wrong type of provisions, and there needs to be more confidence in moving away from this. Ownership needs to be shared by the ICB given the inequalities faced. Mental health trusts as anchor institutions should be anchors and looking to model support and mechanisms in making reasonable adjustments to have a diverse workforce.”

“There’s a lack of understanding and awareness within the mental health workforce that needs to improve, as this needs to be all staff not just specialist staff.”

“Autism training needs to be across all healthcare staff, and all staff should be aware. There is money coming through to support training and development of staff, alongside hopefully money for workforce additions which isn’t yet secured but will be essential in ensuring staff have the time to support effectively. Trusts will need to lead on this too given it is a priority.”

“The independent sector is a key partner in changing the model of care, but we just can’t lose sight of people living in institutions and these being wrong and inappropriate. This comes down to commissioning but currently there can be incentives for keeping beds filled in inappropriate settings.”

“We need to think about how we support staff to make difficult decisions around placing individuals in appropriate settings, when at the moment it can be too easy to place people in settings that are currently commissioned, and staff may need confidence to be able to make more difficult decisions.”

Next week’s session will be joined by Kate Davies, Director of Health and Justice, Armed Forces and Sexual Assault Referral Centres (SARCs) for NHS England, who will lead a discussion around offender health, focusing on the health inequalities they can face in access, experience and outcomes relating to physical and mental health. ICS chairs have been invited to join this meeting, to ensure it is a system-wide conversation.

These meetings are by invitation only. For further details, visit our events page.

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions about these webinars, please contact: events@good-governance.org.uk