The meeting kicked off with a spotlight on mental health – one of our priority areas for 2016/17. Thalia Jervis, our Chief Executive, told the meeting about the selection of library books for young people exploring mental health issues that we are sponsoring. We then showed our mental health film. It focusses on the true life story of Abbey, who struggled to support her friend Ben with his mental health challenges. It also points viewers towards our new mental health directory supporting young people and their parents or carers.
We also announced the launch of our mental health peer support project, which looks at the provision of these services across Buckinghamshire. This project is being delivered in partnership with Bucks Mind.
Our guest speaker was Andrea McCubbin, Chief Executive of Bucks Mind. Andrea gave a presentation sharing the recently launched Bucks Mind strategy. She explained why mental health was so important. 1 in 4 people experience a mental health problem in any one year. She explained the role of national Mind and their shared vision:
We won’t give up until everyone experiencing a mental health problem gets both support and respect.
Andrea went on to explain their focus on delivering quality community based services at scale. Emily Teja then gave some early insight into the progress of the Peer Support project.
The key decisions made were to set up a new group to look at what more Healthwatch Bucks can do to feed into local Sustainability and Transformation Plans. These plans will play a key role in shaping the future of healthcare in Buckinghamshire. The Board approved four new projects, including:
- access to health checks for those with learning disabilities
- partner experience of birth – a best practice approach
- access to services for the deaf community
The fourth project will review the recommendations of our 2015 transport report. The project will also look at the provision of the Non Emergency Patient Transport Service from a patient experience perspective. The Board also agreed to recruit new members for the Healthwatch Bucks Advisory Panel. The Panel plays a key part in decision making for the organisation.