Thank you for contacting me about Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM).
I understand that as much as 70 per cent of demand for mental health crisis services is from a small number of so-called 'high-intensity users', who struggle with complex trauma and behavioural disorders. These disorders can expose patients to higher levels of risk and harm.
SIM is designed to bring together key urgent care agencies involved in responding to high intensity crisis service users, to work together to establish a SIM intervention team for each user. This team is able to support each patient by working with them to understand their crises better and to find healthier and safer ways to cope. By establishing a plan which is disseminated across the emergency services, 999 responders are able to access and use these plans, enabling them to better support the service user. The team will do everything it can to prevent the need for criminal justice intervention.
I completely understand your concerns that high intensity service users are properly supported by people who are clinically equipped to do so - that is why I welcome that plans are agreed with patients, and that SIM teams are led by a mental health professional. I have been a campaigner for proper parity of esteem between mental and physical health services for many years, and all patients deserve proper care that meets their health needs.
NHS England and NHS Improvement have written to the medical directors of National Health Service mental health trusts asking them to review the implementation of Serenity Integrated Mentoring and similar models in trusts, in partnership with local patient representatives and those who might have been in the care of such models.
NHS England and NHS Improvement intend to gather learning from these local reviews, to inform the expansion and transformation of community and crisis care services for adults and older adults with mental health needs as part of the NHS Long Term Plan. I will follow the outcome of the local review in our area closely, and will look forward to discussing any proposals for improvements with our local Devon Partnership NHS Trust.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.