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NSFT's youth service showcased during high-profile visit

​The President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists has visited East Anglia to learn more about the youth mental health service provided by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and its plans to improve further in the future.

Professor Wendy Burn travelled to Norwich on Tuesday (22 January) to hear more about the Trust’s Children’s, Families and Young People’s Services (CFYP), as well as the challenges and opportunities which introducing a model of care for people aged between 0 and 25 has brought.

After spending the morning listening to presentations given by senior clinicians, she completed her visit by touring NSFT’s new Kingfisher Mother and Baby Unit at Hellesdon Hospital in Norwich. Due to open later this month, the specialist unit will allow mothers to remain with their babies while they receive inpatient care for serious mental health problems such as postpartum psychosis and severe post-natal depression.

Prof Burn’s visit was arranged by Amit Bhaduri, Consultant Psychiatrist in Youth Psychiatry, after the duo struck up conversation on Twitter following a similar visit by representatives from NHS England during the autumn.

“We were delighted to welcome Professor Burn to NSFT,” said Dr Bhaduri. “Her visit provided us with the perfect opportunity to showcase our youth service, which is still one of the only services in the country to offer a 0 to 25 model of care.

“During the morning we discussed the history of the service, its successes and some of the challenges which it is facing, such as huge increases in demand. We also outlined our manifesto for further improvement and spoke about the positive changes we are planning to introduce over the coming year so that we can make an even bigger difference to the mental health of children and young people in Norfolk and Waveney.

“This includes rolling out bespoke training packages for staff and developing a new model of care which is more tailored to the young people’s individual needs and focuses on delivering episodes of care which empower them to achieve their goals. We will also embed reflective practice in the service to support staff with the emotional challenges that the work brings.  

“We hope that these changes will not only help to improve the quality of the services we provide but also have an impact on helping to reduce waiting times so that young people can receive tailored support for their mental health more quickly.”

Prof Burn said: “It was great to see the new youth service, which is one of the first in the country to support young people through from adolescence right through to early adulthood, when they are 25. The Long Term Plan for the NHS has called for services for children and young people up until the age of 25 years which are developmentally informed. 

“This new service in Norwich – and its model of care, which is totally patient centred – will provide a useful insight into how such services could be developed.”

Professor Burn’s visit also coincided with NSFT welcoming around 25 new clinicians to the CFYP Service. Some of the new recruits were among an audience of around 40 staff who attended Tuesday’s event, which took place at Open in Norwich.

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