Having mental health services that provide for the specific needs of the population has never been more vital. This is especially true after the Covid-19 pandemic, which has placed enormous demand on the population’s mental health services.
During the continued transition to Integrated Care Systems, North West London ICS recognised the need for a data driven strategic review of their mental health service provision. To help understand the extent of the existing inequalities and ensure future needs-based allocation, a consortium* led by WHi (with Edge Health leading on analytics) were commissioned as part of a wider project team to undertake a focused analysis of the regions core service offering.
Harnessing the collected insight from over 15 expert interviews and analysis of localised population health/prevalence data, the consortium built a thorough understanding of the systems need profile. The analysis showed specific areas with high need and historic investment, but also large pockets of unmet need that were undetected and received lower levels of funding. In combination with a workforce review, the robust findings helped the system identify their local complexities, supporting future resource planning decisions within the context of workforce constraints.
Building on this understanding, the team were then able to establish key service areas of interest and conduct deep dives using investment and patient level data. Significant unwarranted variation was seen across areas with unclear connection between investment and the amount of service provision. Finally, through linking investment in services and patient outcomes, priority areas could be established for systems to investigate further, setting out a data driven road map to improve the regions core service offering.
As a result of the work, a further six areas of system wide action have been agreed to alleviate constraints and address inequalities. Using this step-based approach, North West London can confidently level their core service to the betterment of patient outcomes.
* The consortium for this work included: Andy Ward from WHi Consulting, Edward Parkes, Wendy Cookson from i4H, Louisa Matthews from Staward Advisory, and Edge Health