Mental Health, Dementia & Neurological Conditions


120+ stakeholders from across commissioning, providers, health, social care, voluntary, independent, all settings of care and patients, carers and the public attended a MHDN SCN launch event and shaped the priorities which were then agreed by Commissioning Assembly.

The SCN facilitated and led a Wessex wide forum examining the provision of services to deal with Huntington’s Disease and ways to improve current services.  The work is ongoing.

MHDN Clinical Lead led a national Tweet Chat entitled Valuing mental health equally with physical health – parity of esteem.


Bringing together a network across Wessex for the first time.  There was no natural predecessor to the MHDN SCN.

Working with a paucity of good information for MHDN services.  To improve services a performance baseline needs to be established and this is very difficult without good data.

Plans for  2014/15

The MHDN is undertaking a wide range of projects during 2014/15.  These include:

Improving Physical Health diagnosis in Mental Health:

The SCN will look at this as part of the transformational project that seeks to improve ‘Parity of Esteem’.  The SCN will work jointly with commissioners to pilot a project in 2 Wessex CCGs to improve physical health diagnosis in mental health.  It will employ a HEALTH (Helping Everyone Achieve Long Term Health) Passport which is a patient held record designed to improve health literacy and motivate patients to make lifestyle changes to improve their long term health. 

Improving access to neurological expertise: 

This transformational project will increase patient access to high quality neurological support whilst enabling primary care greater access to effective advice and guidance.  It will share any learning across all neurological conditions to improve waiting times and inform improvements across the neurological spectrum in Wessex.  It consists of a number of constituent sub-projects that include:

  • Pilot a project to improve the patient pathway for headache referrals and treatment.
  • Identifying current spend and activity within the Wessex area.
  • Conducting a review of current neurological resources across Wessex. 
  • Implement a project to pilot a neurological advice and guidance survey within Wessex with a view to rolling this out across Wessex if it deemed to be successful following an audit and review.

Improving integration of care and support for people with MHDN through focussing on intensity of need and critical events:

The SCN will utilise a Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) approach to assist in identifying what factors drive the current neurology and dementia pathways.  People will be surveyed to ascertain their views and data will be analysed to determine the major causes of presentation. Modelling will then be carried out in partnership with the local Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). The project will also consider why many patients do not receive a level of care that is proportional to the level of their needs; they can often receive a “one size fits all” care package.  This means that patients may fail to receive the best care for their conditions and the health economy does not optimise its resources.  The results of these investigations will be integrated into the pathway across Wessex. 

Improving dementia diagnosis and quality of care throughout the pathway: 

The project aims to improve the rate and quality of dementia diagnosis. This will be achieved through a number of sub-projects targeting specific areas, these include:

  • Map evidence base and quality standards for diagnosis (including investigation) to enable diagnosis at the most appropriate level of care
  • Produce a robust and engaging survey for GPs and patients (the local populace) across Wessex to obtain an understanding of their views of current dementia diagnosis processes, how they should work and associated enablers and barriers- reducing the barriers to diagnosis by ensuring patients can access good quality dementia services post diagnosis.
  • Produce a “toolkit” of best practice guidance (identified from the other elements of the project) for the diagnosis of dementia and post diagnostic support to be implemented across Wessex
  • Development of an integrated referral method (preferably electronic) linking primary and secondary care with other elements of the dementia diagnostic pathway and incorporating post diagnostic care resources and critical event management.