A bright idea

Ella Rhodes reports on an award for Dr Coleen Mercer-Quinn.

A programme aimed at helping long-term mental health service users to make the transition from secondary to primary care has won a Bright Ideas in Health award.

Dr Coleen Mercer-Quinn, who works in adult mental health for Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, said the Recovery Focused Care Transfer (ReFleCT) programme came about because of a delay in the transfer of such care. The programme consists of sessions that encourage clients to use their own inherent wisdom, and encourages the creation of goals, acknowledgement of challenges, development of safety-management strategies and discussion of ongoing support and personal strengths.

Mercer-Quinn told us the intervention set out to bridge the gap between clinical and personal recovery. An initial trial of the programme, in which 10 service users had four weekly appointments, has shown promise. Mercer-Quinn said families, NHS workers and carers are also able to take part in these sessions, with permission from the client.

She added: ‘In community mental health teams personal recovery to a certain degree is a relatively new approach. Longevity of community care is often related to an outdated NHS paternalistic culture – that "staff know best" – together with the prospect of life without secondary care services, which can elicit profound feelings of fear and uncertainty. Negative perceptions of change by staff and clients alike can be a strong indicator of delayed transfers of care.’

Mercer-Quinn won in the service improvement category, and she says the programme has also drawn interest from other NHS trusts. Describing receiving the award as 'amazing', she added: ‘It's a great honour for myself and my team: I’m hugely grateful to my research assistant Hayley Wright.’

For a short video explaining the programme see tinyurl.com/he3m9as

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