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Additional mental health support available in GP practices across the Vale of York for 2022

Three primary care networks within the Vale of York are prioritising the need for continued dedicated mental health provision within their primary care teams and supporting patients via Mental Health Practitioners.

Selby Town, Tadcaster and Rural Selby, and South Hambleton and Ryedale are primary care networks within the NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and were the first in North Yorkshire to trailblaze the mental health practitioner roles from April 2021.

These additional roles in primary care focus in on the mental health needs of patients and provide rapid assessment to those with either a diagnosed or undiagnosed mental health concern, offering 1:1 support and access to a range of local services.

Patients wanting to talk about their mental health can speak to a mental health practitioner without judgement and in confidence – without the need for an appointment with their GP first.

Dr Ruth Walker a GP from Scott Road said: "Someone who contacts the surgery looking for support with their mental health struggles will be triaged into the mental health practitioner, who is the best person to identify how their needs can be met and supported. Being able to offer this dedicated service has helped many of our patients and will continue to do so in 2022."

The additional staff capacity in GP practices is also helping to relieve pressure from doctors.

Dr Helena Ebbs a GP from Pickering said: "When on call earlier this week I would normally have received up to 5 telephone calls from patients struggling with their mental health and in need of some support - but I received none, as these were instead taken by our experienced and specialised mental health practitioner with a 0 day wait. Sometimes a GP isn’t aways the most appropriate person to speak to and having this additional role within our practice will increase our capacity to support more patients."

Mental Health Practitioners in the Vale of York are 50% funded by the Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme available to Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across the country.

Dr Nick Jackson, Clinical Director for the Selby Town PCN said: "Our primary care network, like those neighbouring in the Vale of York, has chosen to use this new funding to pay for mental health practitioners since 2021 because they will help us to meet the needs of our local population and contribute to improving the health and wellbeing of patients."

The remaining 50% is funded by the local mental health provider Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys Foundation Trust (TEWV) and comes out of additional money granted from the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme.

David Kerr, Community Mental Health Transformation Programme and Delivery Lead for North Yorkshire and York said:

“We recognise that not everyone will need specialist mental health services, so we want to make sure that people get the support that’s right for them in the fastest possible time. The new first contact mental health workers can use their skills and expertise to assess whether a person needs specialist support, or whether alternative options such as self-help resources or support groups would be beneficial. They can also liaise with and signpost people to partner agencies who can help with wider social and environmental needs, such as housing, employment or money problems, all of which can impact a person’s mental health if not addressed."

More information for patients can be found at

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