MOD Mental Health provision for Armed Forces

The government has announced the winner of the contract to provide psychiatric services to members of HM Forces. Details below.

Armed Forces: Mental Health

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): My honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence (Kevan Jones) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I wish to inform the House of the outcome of a competitive exercise for the provision of inpatient mental health care for our serving Armed Forces personnel.

The Ministry of Defence recognises mental illnesses as potentially serious and disabling conditions, but most can be successfully treated. Our mental health services are configured to provide community-based mental health care in line with the guidelines and standards set by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the national service frameworks.

We do this primarily by supporting our GPs with specialist outpatient assessment and treatment at our military regional departments of community mental health centres sited in military bases. Care is provided by either military mental health care professionals or civilians employed by the MoD. This means that serving personnel usually remain with their units and receive outpatient care in a military environment.

Inpatient care may be required in a small number of cases. Where this is necessary, it is provided regionally in specialised psychiatric units under a contractual arrangement. Since 2003 this contract has been with the Priory Group. The contract with the Priory Group has worked very well and was extended for two years. In line with our usual commercial practice a competitive tendering exercise has now been conducted in order to place a new contract. I am now in a position to announce the outcome of that competition.

The evaluation process produced a clear winner—we have awarded the contract to the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust, which offered a powerful grouping of NHS providers to deliver a nationwide service.

The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust proposal offers a bespoke admission and treatment service based upon the needs of the MoD and of the individual patient. They offer a single point of contact for admissions and access to a series of dedicated beds across the United Kingdom. South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust describes its services as culturally sensitive and has proposed an inpatient care pathway that provides assessment and treatment in environments that would allow service patients to be accommodated in a separate area and to separate themselves from the civilian NHS population if they wished this and it was clinically appropriate. The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust’s philosophy and approach to inpatient care is consistent with that of the MoD and with generally accepted best practice: rapid assessment, stabilisation and return to care within the community as soon as possible.

The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust will provide locally based care through a network consisting of a group of five foundation trusts, one trust in the process of foundation trust application and one NHS Scotland trust. These are: Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, NHS Grampian, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, Somerset Partnership NHS Trust, and Hampshire Partnership NHS Trust. All of the trusts selected are rated good or excellent for their quality of care in the Healthcare Commission’s recent annual health check. The South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust will act as the network lead and, as such, will guarantee the quality and governance of the services provided. The foundation trust status of the winning bidder offers MoD access to services that are subject to unprecedented levels of corporate governance and are monitored by an independent regulator.

The MoD will work with the South Staffordshire and Shropshire Foundation Trust to implement a transition to the new contract that will cause minimal disruption to current and future patients. The Priory Group has agreed to extend the existing contract until the end of February 2009 to allow for a transition period.

When combined with care provided on operations by our deployed military mental health professionals, in military primary care and in military community mental health centres, I am confident that this contract represents a continuation of the combination of the best of external and internal providers to deliver mental health care to national standards of excellence.

HL Deb 18 November 2008 cc WS69-70


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Netley had a big fire ages ago and that was the end of it. It's the Victoria Country Park or some such now with just the chapel (which escaped the fire) still standing. Nice view of the Solent for your picnic.

Touched a chord with me as I can just remember visiting my uncle there at the beginning of the war when it was a general Army hospital with the patients in sky-blue suits with red ties. It was built for the Crimean War (for those that survived the horrors of the then Army medical services out there) so no doubt would not meet modern mod. cons. Younger than Haslar though, therefore.

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