Recent developments & achievements

We are always striving to improve access, capacity and the experience of people using our services and we have made huge headway on many fronts during the last few years.  Notable achievements and developments over the last year or so include:

Provider Collaboratives

Provider Collaboratives are a national initiative designed to encourage different providers within defined geographical areas to design, commission and deliver services more closely together. Five years ago, our organisation piloted and launched the South West Provider Collaborative – one of the first and most successful in the country. We are the lead provider for the Collaborative, which designs and commissions secure mental health and a growing range of other services across the whole of the region – from Cornwall to Gloucestershire. It has gradually taken on additional responsibilities and its budget has grown significantly.

We have also played a lead role in Devon’s Mental Health, Learning Disability and Neurodiversity Provider Collaborative since it was created in 2022. We are working closely with our colleagues at Livewell Southwest in Plymouth, the voluntary sector (VCSE), local authorities and other key partners to join-up services and break-down organisational barriers across the county.  Among many other strands of work, the Collaborative is leading on the development of a dementia strategy for the county.

New ward at Torbay Hospital

Work is under way to build a new £12m, 16-bed adult mental health ward on the Torbay Hospital site, with the new facility becoming operational in 2022. Salus ward will provide a bright, modern and therapeutic environment for our staff and patients and it will also bring much-needed additional bed capacity for adults who require a stay in hospital.

2023 Awards

Awards and recognition

The amazing work of our staff is regularly recognised at a number of prestigious awards ceremonies. Our South West Provider Collaborative (SWPC) won in the category of 'Reducing Healthcare Inequalities for Children and Young People' at the 2023 HSJ Awards.

Devon Wellbeing Hub

The Devon Wellbeing Hub is one of 40 that were set-up across England to support staff with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our organisation leads the Devon Hub. The Hubs can be accessed by anyone working in the NHS, social care or the police. In the first year of operation we had 400 referrals from individuals as well as many teams wanting support.

The Hub supports people with any aspect of their wellbeing and is completely confidential. The Hub also helps teams to think about their collective wellbeing – something which has never been more important than it is now.

Disability care

CQC Rating

Following our latest focused inspection by the Care Quality Commission (CQC), we are pleased to announce that our organisation has maintained its overall rating of ‘good’.

Other highlights:

  • More than 71,000 referrals were received in 2023/4, with almost 31,000 of these being to our TALKWORKS talking therapies service.
  • 92% of people using our services would recommend our services to family and friends – higher than the national target of 85%.
  • We are continuing to see rising demand for urgent care and crisis support – as well as increasing levels of complexity and severity among people of all ages who are seeking help. We have bolstered the capacity of our First Response Service (FRS) which now offers support to people of all ages. We are also working closely with our partners at the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust and the police to support people in crisis.  As part of the national roll-out of NHS111 to mental health providers, people can now contact our FRS via the NHS111 number, which will help to increase accessibility to urgent care and support.

Langdon Hospital development

Work is well under way on the construction of a new 10-bed unit to support adults with a mental health need and a learning disability or autism.

The £20m development, on our Langdon Hospital site in Dawlish, is part of a regional service delivered through two locations, with the other unit being built in Bristol. The unit will open in 2025.

  • We are developing clinical practice to ensure our services are able to deliver personalised care. This means creating care and treatment plans that are tailored to meet individual needs, with a single plan for the person – even when multiple services and agencies may be involved in supporting them.
  • In our perinatal service, we have extended our offer of support to women/birthing people from 12 to 24 months, as well as offering fathers/co-parents screening and signposting for their own mental health needs. We have also extended our psychological intervention offer and added an occupational therapy component to our perinatal community service.
  • Our West of England Specialist Gender Identity Clinic will see around £6m of additional funding over the next six years thanks to a contract signed with NHSE South West. We have a fantastic team of staff at the clinic who have been working with people from the community and NHSE to create a plan to improve gender services.  In particular, there is a shared desire to reduce the number of people on the waiting list and to reduce the significant length of time that they currently have to wait, which is a national issue.
  • We have launched a new service for young people with complex needs who are preparing to transition from children’s services to adult services. The Complex Emotional Needs Transitions Team has been created to support young people up to six months before they turn 18, and in the six months afterwards, to help identify what ongoing support or services they might need.
Rough Sleeper

Mental Health support for rough sleepers

Rough sleepers in Devon will have better access to mental health support thanks to an innovative project which sees mental health, primary care, social care, housing services and the VCSE sector working together. A pilot project has now been extended, led jointly by our organisation and Livewell Southwest.

Devon previously had no dedicated mental health support for people sleeping rough, but the area has higher than average numbers of people identified as rough sleepers in an England-wide study in 2021.

  • Our partnership with the Devon Mental Health Alliance (DMHA) is continuing to make steady progress in supporting people in the community. By February 2024, the DMHA had supported over 1,300 people through one-to-one interventions, making more than 8,500 contacts. The Alliance has developed a range of additional courses for professionals including ‘bite-size’ training, which is delivered by a psychologist – This has skilled-up over 200 members of staff from statutory and VCSE organisations. The Alliance has also distributed more than £100k in funding to support the work of wider VCSE partners.
  • At the end of 2023, we moved to a new Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system called SystemOne. This is a major undertaking for any healthcare organisation but the transfer to the new system was completed without any significant issues. Among other benefits, SystemOne enables us to increase and improve connectivity and information sharing with many of our system partners.
  • We are continuing to expand our Mental Health in Schools Teams (MHSTs) initiative. By the summer term of 2025, we expect to have coverage of around 70% of children and young people in Devon’s schools, with 110 members of staff – including eight Children’s Wellbeing Practitioners supporting the schools in which we do not yet have teams.
  • With the support of our DPT Charity, we have been able to extend chaplaincy support into our frontline community teams. The chaplaincy service has received excellent feedback from staff and users of services and the team provides support to people of all faiths and those of none.