Exec blog – the right support at the right time

01 March 2018

Exec blog – the right support at the right time

Dr Anushta Sivananthan, CWP Consultant Psychiatrist and Medical Director, celebrates the profoundly positive outcomes our Wirral Complex Needs Service is achieving for people with complex mental health conditions.

You may have read a number of articles in the national media recently about the challenges some people face when trying to access the right type of psychological therapy to best meet their needs.

Across the UK, recognition is now growing that for some people with particularly complex needs, Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services - although very effective for many people with mild to  moderate anxiety and depression – aren’t the answer for everyone. Some, often those with more severe and complex mental health conditions, don’t always meet the standard criteria for IAPT and can sometimes struggle to get the right therapeutic support.

Often, this can mean that for someone that isn’t well, their first intervention with services can be with emergency care, the police or other services that provide limited support..

Our Wirral Complex Needs Service has identified that within their community, some people require a different, more person-centred approach.  I’m delighted to say that the service is now being recognised as a national example of best practice.

The service is designed to specifically help patients with complex and severe mental health conditions who regularly use out-of-hours, emergency services or make frequent last-minute appointments with their GPs. It has supported many people to access the most suitable talking therapies, while also being flexible and supportive enough to ensure that their wider needs are met.

This means that the team have been able to help many people in Wirral who have previously struggled to engage with formal treatment, or who have been pushed from service to service without success.

In addition to providing this meaningful, person-centred offer to people accessing mental health services in, the service has had a profoundly positive impact on the wider Wirral community. As you’ll see in the accompanying diagram, since people access the service we see a significant decrease in their visits to their GPs, emergency departments and the number of nights spent in psychiatric beds.

Although we could never claim to have found the perfect answer, and we will always to continue to explore different ways we can improve people’s experiences, I’m delighted by the outcomes that the service is achieving, especially during what is nationally considered a very challenging climate for all NHS services.

Our next step is to see how this model can inspire other services across CWP, and do what we can to share this best practice example of person-centredness with our partners nationally.

Best wishes,


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