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Pioneering project gives carers and service users chance to shape the future of mental healthcare in Bedfordshire

10 March 2015

Carers and services users are changing the shape of mental health services in Bedfordshire by helping Bedfordshire CCG select a new provider.

The provider – East London Foundation Trust (ELFT) – is due to take over running mental health services in the county on 1 April. A video, which has gone live this week, shows how current service users and their carers have contributed to the process that awarded the contract to ELFT.

Last year, when BCCG started looking for a new provider, we brought together a group of service users and carers to contribute to the selection process. In the video, group members talk candidly about their experience of mental health care and explain what sort of service would benefit them in the future.

They also explain why they volunteered to take part in the procurement and how they feel they have influenced the outcome. BCCG believes this is the first time an NHS commissioner has involved service users and carers in this way.

Ampthill resident, Ben Salmons says in the video:

“I really appreciated the opportunity to be able to get across how I have used the service, and how I can make it a better service by giving my experience.”

Bedfordshire GP and BCCG clinical lead for mental health Dr Judy Baxter said:

“Our vision is for a mental health service which is based on outcomes that make a real difference to the lives of the people who receive care, support or treatment. The involvement of service users and carers has been invaluable and they have helped to shape the outcomes on which the new service is to be based. We would like to thank the service users and carers who have given their time and shared their thoughts in the making of this video.” 

Alison Borrett, BCCG’s Governing Body member for patient and public involvement said:

“The experience of involving the panel members in the mental health service selection procedure was so positive that the CCG decided to capture the enthusiasm, commitment and views that people expressed. The CCG felt that a video would do this in a really dynamic way that we could learn from for any future engagement.”

The video was made by Rob Catania, a video and media production student at Bedford College and can be viewed on the BCCG website https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W47B2EASEEA&feature=youtu.be

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