Patients shape new services

A new psychological therapy service is set to be offered in Northumberland.

The NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has taken feedback from more than 200 patients to draw up a new contract for the service.

It will be delivered by a partnership of Mental Health Matters, cognitive behaviour therapy service Efficacy and Sunderland Counselling Service, operating under the brand Talking Matters Northumberland.

There will be flexibility for patients, more outreach work, opportunities for patients to get involved in social activities or volunteering, and encouragement for people to seek help early if they need it.

People can self-refer to the service and choose a convenient venue for their treatment, but referrals can also be made by GPs, carers and healthcare professionals.

The service will be accessible round the clock by telephone.

Guidepost GP and Northumberland CCG lead for mental health Dr Eileen Higgins said: “The county has benefitted from good psychological therapies services over the past five years, but a new contract is always a chance to listen to patients and see where we can make improvements.”

The service will begin in September. Patients using the current provision will be contacted about the new arrangements.