Coastal West Sussex Mind and the local NHS have now awarded a total of 12 GP practices the PACESetter Award which recognises how they are leading the way in changing culture and improving services around mental health in primary care.
Riverbank Medical Surgery in Midhurst, Henfield Medical Practice, New Pond Row Surgery in Lancing and Ball Tree Surgery in Sompting were presented with their awards at a celebration event in Arundel on Wednesday. Witterings Medical Surgery also achieved the PACESetter standard although couldn’t attend. The award is given to surgeries which make changes that mean their practices are more mental health-friendly.
Based on the award-winning Children and Young People PACE Setter, the initiative has been developed by a partnership between Coastal West Sussex Mind and Coastal West Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and is funded by Health Education England. Each GP practice is given £1,000 to help them achieve the award.
GPs from each surgery spoke at the event about how they had approached making improvements for both patients with mental health problems and staff, who are in what can be a very stressful job.
Dr Paul Fludder, of Riverbank, Midhurst said: “We started with a survey of our patients with mental health needs to see how we were doing and what suggestions they had. Some of the changes suggested were to produce information about different services that could help them – and the leaflets we’ve developed have been really popular. We’ve also put up a mental health noticeboard and are soon to set up a young person’s noticeboard that will be visible from outside the surgery. In addition, we’ve re-designed the front desk for the benefit of both patients and staff.
“It’s been brilliant doing the mental health PACESetter which has acted as a catalyst for us. We’ve done a lot for staff’s mental well-being too. They’d told us how stressed and under pressure they felt and gave us their support and enthusiasm for PACESetter. We’ve introduced well-being walks, a staff noticeboard in the common room featuring positive feedback and pictures, and a night out for all the staff, paid for by the partners. Staff say they feel cared for and appreciated now which is wonderful.”
Meanwhile, at New Pond Row Surgery, Lancing, Dr Debbie Lawton said patients with mental health problems told them they wanted a quiet space away from the main waiting room.
She said: “We had noticed one patient in particular who was pacing around, holding his head and seemed very agitated. When we spoke to him, he explained there was too much talking, the radio was bothering him and it was overwhelming.
“So we’ve now started playing relaxing music instead and have two quiet areas away from the waiting room. The next time he came in, he gave me a double thumbs-up to show his approval. I’m sure those simple changes have been beneficial to many more of our patients too.”
“To help our patients with chronic diseases, we now ensure we ask them how they are doing. If they are not feeling good, we ask them which doctor they prefer to see at New Pond Row and we then arrange an appointment with that GP for them to discuss how they are feeling and any worries.
“They have told us they never expected to be given an appointment like that to come and talk.”
Coastal West Sussex Mind is now working with Public Health England and national Mind to look at opportunities to spread PaceSetter further.
Patients and GP surgeries can find out more about the PACE setter award by ringing Charlotte Dawber at Coastal West Sussex Mind on 01903 277010, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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