Collaboration in mental health


At our last event Joint Ventures in Mental Health, sponsored by Mills & Reeve, Rhian Vandrill spoke alongside Turning Point’s Victor Adebowale and fast-growing private mental health provider Cygnet Health Care on how collaborations work for them. Here are Rhian’s four most striking points from the evening:

  1. There is clearly appetite for collaboration but challenges need to be addressed collectively
    One quick win suggested: a common and pertinent data and reporting set to be agreed between all providers and commissioners.
  2. The building block for a successful JV is a strong relationship
    Without good mutual understanding and common objectives, partnerships fail. And they don’t look credible to commissioners.  Said one charity, if you’re approaching me out of the blue to help you get through a tender, I’m going to say no – it simply won’t work.
  3. We need to understand the relative strengths of each sector…
    For instance: NHS providers have the scale, infrastructure, experience and expertise that is the basis for good quality service provision.  In addition private providers have access to capital and often move at a faster pace helping to make improvements and get new services off the ground quickly. And a key part of charities’ value is ensuring the safety net is universal, acting as advocates for the parts of the community that struggle to benefit from mental health support services.
  4. …and commission accordingly
    Effective commissioners understand the motivators and biases of each and design services and incentives that get the best out of each. We were sad to see the relative lack of commissioners in the room – mental health commissioning is a nettle we need to grasp.

Written by Rhian Vandrill, Mills & Reeve.