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Integrated health and Social Care Project – Mental Health


Emad Lilo


Project Title: Integrated Care Models in Mental Health Research Project: Self assessment of an Integrated NHS Trust; National Perspective Challenges and Opportunities survey; & Small Scale Front Line Practitioners' Research Projects.

Mersey Care NHS Trust has been successful in becoming an NHS North West Education Integrated Care Demonstrator site. The project considered the effectiveness of social care values, principles, role, functions, and delivery within an integrated Mental Health setting by engaging the workforce, partners, commissioners and service user/carers. The aim of the project was to elicit a considered, informed and collective value judgement from participants (here service users, carers, social workers, other professionals and managers) on the effectiveness of mental health social work in an integrated setting.

The project ran between April to November 2015 and aimed to capture confidence in the role of mental health social work interventions, thinking and approaches in integrated settings, including understanding and working with social networks and communities.

The project objectives included strengthening the evaluation which has already been started in the Trust, from an objective viewpoint and to explore and build an evidence base for integrated working which is then to be disseminated across other integrated mental health services. Also considered was the effectiveness of social care values, principles and delivery within an integrated mental health setting by engaging the workforce, partners, third sector, commissioners and service users.

The Project has three research project activities:

Research Activity One: Evaluating Mersey Care NHS Trust’s Mental Health Social Work Integrated Support & Development programme

1. To complete a review of the literature in relation to mental health social work in integrated settings in the context of development and training needs

2. Review and compare local policies, standards and social work workforce developments with the current literature in relation to mental health social work in integrated settings

3. Compare the views of practitioners and people who access services with what is found in the literature to evaluate the effectiveness of Mersey Care’s model

Five deliberative sessions were held; three with professionals and two service users and carers. Each group was provided with a summary of what had been found in the literature review about what constitutes ‘good’ mental health social work in integrated setting which was.

Research Activity 2: Small Scale Frontline Research Projects

In additional to the main body of the learning, the project also supported a number of small scale practitioner research projects. Seven studies were undertaken to provide contemporary evidence based and practitioners led. Topics included: Parity between physical & mental health; safeguarding adults/children; multidisciplinary working with asylum seekers; and whole system approach to trauma informed care.

Research Activity 3: National Survey What Makes Integration Sustainable In Mental Health

The aim of this strand of the project was to explore why integration within mental health services between health and social care has been sustained in certain mental health trusts whilst in others integration has not.

The learning from each of the three research activities formed the basis of a portfolio containing reports and recommendations that provided a detailed understanding of best practice in relation to integrated working in mental health. The process provided learning that was able to identify good practice in the existing models of integration in the context of current policies and identify gaps and develop strategies for strengthening the integration model in Mental Health.

Community Care Magazine has already published an article about the project findings and their significant relevance to professional and organisational development and practice. Link below:

Mersey Care is now a pilot site to test out a number of products developed by the Department of Health and the College of Social Work. Details below:

Three resources were released together in February 2016

- ‘Social work for better mental health’ The Strategic Statement

- ‘How are we doing?’ An organisational and workforce self-assessment resource for implementation of the College role categories

- ‘Making the difference’: A framework for direct service user and carer feedback and collaboration to promote high quality social work in mental health

Finally the project findings will support the government national integration policy including the Healthy Liverpool Scheme which is an excellent programme bringing clinical commissioners, providers and the Local Authority to work hard together to rebalance the healthcare system in Liverpool with greater focus on prevention, proactive care in community settings and integrated delivery across providers, with patients actively involved in their care (Panorama documentary, NHS - The Perfect Storm, July 2015).

How to Cite: Lilo E. Integrated health and Social Care Project – Mental Health. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2016;16(6):A143. DOI:
Published on 16 Dec 2016.


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