Health teams join our fight
Plymouth Community Healthcare (PCH) has thrown its weight behind The Herald’s loveLIFE health and wellbeing campaign. In the first of a series of news features, Herald Reporter Claire Jones takes a closer look at its work and services in different parts of the city. Today she looks at PCH’s Central and North East area.
THE chance to combine physical and mental healthcare in the heart of the community is a 'unique and exciting' one, according to the man in charge of Plymouth's densest population area.
Each day teams from Plymouth Community Healthcare (PCH) give support to those with mental health issues, those who require district nursing and those with long-term conditions.
David McAuley, who manages this work for PCH, said: "The Central and North East locality has the single highest population of all the localities within Plymouth and has a diverse demographic profile in terms of both age, income profile and therefore health needs.
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"My role is a challenging one and I am committed to improving the services that Plymouth Community Healthcare provide to the local community.
"The opportunity to integrate the physical and mental health needs of the population is a unique and exciting one and enables us to meet the 'holistic' needs of individuals in a way that most health services are unable to."
As well as the locality services, a number of teams and services that cover the whole of Plymouth are based in the area too.
These include the district nursing clinic, The Glenbourne Mental Health Unit, Lee Mill Low Secure Unit, The Gables Mental Health Recovery unit, the mental health home treatment team and the end-of-life co-ordination centre.
The team have worked hard to boost the services PCH provides for patients.
This work includes projects to improve the efficiency of community teams so they can offer appointments once someone is referred. This was achieved by reviewing how the team works, said Mr McAuley.
He said: "For example, we have been able to reduce the amount of time registered nurses spend undertaking clerical duties.
"This was done by auditing how much time they spend on them.
"This resulted in an additional two clerical posts in one team, releasing the nurses from administrative tasks to increase their time with patients.
"Our most recent audit had shown an increase of 11 per cent per day in the time we are spending with our patients."
The team are also working at improving the environments in which mental health services are provided, such as working with local art students to make the PCH hospitals a more pleasant place to be.
A refurbishment of the Glenbourne unit is also under way.
Once completed, the team will be able to offer single en-suite rooms to anyone admitted and an environment that can provide urgent assessments for those in crisis.
The team are to carry out a consultation process on how they provide their mental health recovery services for those with long-term and often debilitating mental health issues.
And they are proposing improvements to the support being provided to enable patients to access and be able to stay in their homes with good quality treatment and care.
Teams working in the Central and North East area have embraced The Herald's loveLIFE campaign, which aims to encourage people in Plymouth to live a healthier life and do more exercise.
The campaign is measured by participation in four challenges over the course of the 12 months, between October 2011 and October 2012.
The challenges are running, walking, swimming or cycling a million miles, dancing a million steps, stubbing out a million cigarettes or losing one hundred thousands pounds in weight.
All people need to do is sign up to the challenges and donate their individual amount.
Mr McAuley said: "We are delighted to support and be involved with the Herald's loveLIFE campaign and to work at improving the health of individuals and communities."
If you would like to learn more about any of the teams or services in the Central and North East district, contact David McAuley or Sarah Pearce on 01752 434768.
For more information about The Herald's loveLIFE campaign visit www.heraldlovelife.co.uk or call 01752 765529.
Mannamead, Crownhill, Higher Compton, Eggbuckland, Beacon Park and Pennycross, Leigham and Mainstone, Glenholt, Estover, Widewell, and Derriford.
Core services are the community mental health team (CMHT), district nurses, and long-term condition teams.