Norfolk and Waveney: Announcement of new NHS Talking Therapies service | News and events

Norfolk and Waveney: Announcement of new NHS Talking Therapies service

People in Norfolk and Waveney experiencing anxiety and depression are to benefit from an enhanced new NHS Talking Therapies service providing tailored care and support as close to their home or place of work as possible.

The new service, which has been shaped by service users, families, carers and clinicians together, will see support offered from more than double the existing locations across Norfolk and Waveney, bringing personalised care and support closer to those who need it. 

The new multi-partnership approach brings together voluntary, community, social enterprise and statutory (VCSE) organisations and will ensure people in Norfolk and Waveney can get quick and easy access to talking therapies services, enabling them to live their lives with improved mental health.

The contract award for NHS Talking Therapies, known locally as Wellbeing Services has been announced today by NHS Norfolk and Waveney Integrated Care Board (ICB). The new contract will start on 1 September 2024 and will be in place for a minimum of five years. 

NHS Talking Therapies are effective, confidential and free treatments delivered by trained clinicians, online, on the phone or in person. A range of therapies are offered depending on people’s symptoms, from guided self-help, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), counselling for depression, to interpersonal therapy (IPT) and mindfulness based cognitive therapy.

Patients will be able to continue to self-refer into the new service or ask their GP to refer them. The services are available to anyone aged 16 or above and living in Norfolk and Waveney.

The new service will result in a number of additional sites where NHS Talking Therapies will be delivered from, across Norfolk and Waveney. Mobile access will also be developed, taking services out into local communities, making treatment and support as accessible and as convenient as possible and improving patient experience and outcomes. 

Organisations making up the partnership that will deliver the new service include:

  • Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) – providing clinical staff and leadership and connection with Community Mental Health Team, Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment team and wider secondary care health services
  • Norfolk and Waveney Mind (N&W Mind) – providing counsellors, access, health and inclusion teams
  • Relate – providing relationship support including counselling for couples, individuals and families
  • Norfolk Community Health and Care (NCH&C) NHS Trust and East Coast Community Health (ECCH) – hosting psychological wellbeing practitioners linked to long term conditions
  • East London NHS Foundation Trust – providing digital triage and assessment and links to London community of practice and innovation.

Tracey Bleakley, Chief Executive Officer, NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB, said: “Through engaging and listening to local people we heard that people wanted more accessible and equitable talking therapies services, an expanded online support offer and for more work to take place collaboratively with a wider range of services and VCSE organisations.

“This innovative new multi-partnership approach will provide the improvements that local people have asked for, resulting in an expanded and improved access to tailored treatment and support for people who would benefit from talking therapies. 

“This is a really positive step forward in our ambition to improve outcomes and experiences for local service users, families and carers across Norfolk and Waveney, and will make seeking help as convenient, quick and straight-forward as possible. 

“I look forward to working with the partners over the next few months and years to ensure our local communities across Norfolk and Waveney have access to high quality, safe and efficient mental health services, supporting them closer to home and in environments which are more tailored to their individual needs and requirements.”

Caroline Donovan, Chief Executive Officer, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust said: “I am delighted that this new innovative proposal has been selected to further improve and transform our NHS Talking Therapies services across Norfolk and Waveney. 

“Our engagement with service users, families and carers in developing this further improved and transformed service was essential in shaping the new model.

“As part of this engagement, not only did we receive vital feedback as to how we could increase our physical presence in local communities across Norfolk and Waveney, we were also told that the appearance of sites where we operate from is important to people who visit them.

“This is great news for our local NHS Talking Therapies services and testament to the work and support our staff and partner organisations are already providing to our existing and new service users, families and carers. 

“Collectively, we are determined to ensure that our service users, families, carers and wider communities across Norfolk and Waveney receive the right care at the right time and right place to achieve safer, kinder and better mental health services in the future.”

Pete Boczko, Chief Executive Officer, Norfolk and Waveney Mind, said: “This is a new, innovative way of collectively providing vital, early mental health support to the people of Norfolk and Waveney and we are delighted to be involved in this important collaborative partnership. 

“We look forward to working with our partners over the next five years to ensure greater equality in access to, and experience of, local mental health services. 

“I am confident the new model will deliver effective therapies to many more people across our region. This transformative approach to operating NHS Talking Therapies is a major step forward towards our ambition that no one in Norfolk and Waveney should have to face poor mental health alone.” 

Charles Darley, Chief Executive at Relate said: "Relationships are fundamental to our wellbeing and it's wonderful to see this recognised through increased investment in our relationship support services in Norfolk and Waveney.  

“Last year 76% of people who attended our NHS Talking Therapies services in the area saw an improvement in their mental health. We're looking forward to working with our valued partners to further reduce rates of anxiety and depression in the community.”

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