Forward Thinking BirminghamA new provider of mental health services for children, young people and young adults in Birmingham has begun to roll out its services.

The Forward Thinking Birmingham partnership, commissioned by Birmingham South Central, Birmingham Cross City, and Sandwell and West Birmingham Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), combines the expertise of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust, the Priory Group, Beacon UK and The Children’s Society.  

Working with young people and families, Forward Thinking Birmingham clinicians have designed a range of new services and facilities focused around the individual needs of 0-25-year-olds. These will begin to go live in a phased approach between October 2015 and April 2016 – the safest way to transfer services and patients between providers.

This is the first time that services have spanned this age range – something the three CCGs are keen to do to bring an end to disjointed and fragmented care provision, complicated service pathways and long waiting lists. Services will also be more closely aligned with health, education and care plans, and local authority services for people with learning disabilities and those in care.

The main differences to current services will be:

For the first time, 0-25s will be seen by the same service 

A robust service will be in place for 16-18 year olds

Additional prevention activities to promote emotional wellbeing in local communities

Joined up care between all services in the city

A brand new city centre ‘hub’ will offer drop-in advice and support

A 24/7 phone number will offer instant access to all 0-25s, families, friends, health professionals and anyone else with a concern 

New inpatient beds for 18-25s in a newly refurbished, dedicated therapeutic environment

A state-of-the-art integrated patient management system that will ensure people no longer get 'lost in the system’  

The service is based around the following core principles:

Prevention: Forward Thinking Birmingham will raise the profile of mental health and challenging stigma in Birmingham communities to help prevent problems from developing in the first place

Access: There is no wrong door. It will be easy for children, young people, young adults, families, health professionals and those who work with children and young adults to contact the team and get immediate access to the services they need seamlessly 

Choice: Based around individual personal goals, there will be a choice and range of services, from flexible online, community and home-based care, to flexible support in the community, home-based, urgent and inpatient care

Integration: Working with local communities the partnership will promote good mental health and wellbeing

Joined-up care: Working with partners across the city, care will be joined up to help 0-25s to get back on track as soon as possible.

David Melbourne, interim chief executive of Birmingham Children’s Hospital, lead partner of Forward Thinking Birmingham, said:

“As Europe’s youngest city we’ve got a duty to protect our children, young people and young adults so that they can live healthy and happy lives, and it’s exciting for Birmingham to be leading the way.

“October is a significant first step in the life of our new service. Our new Access Centre (pictured) phone number is now live and over the coming months we begin to take over the care of all patients up to the age of 25, and roll out our new services – such as our city-centre drop in ‘hub’ – to help those in need get the right care, at the right time, in the right place.  

“By transforming expectations of what mental health services can provide, we know we can help set young people on a path towards a healthier, happier and brighter future.”

Dr Diane Reeves, accountable officer at Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “We’ve listened to children, young people and young adults and completely redesigned mental health services according to what we’ve heard and by doing so will give more of them the chance to continue in education and employment, without being limited by a mental health condition. I am extremely proud to see the services coming into place and look forward to working with our partners in Forward Thinking Birmingham.”

Current patients of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust are being contacted about the changes and transfer to Forward Thinking Birmingham. Although there is no action they need to take, people with questions or concerns can speak to the person they usually see as part of their care, or contact the Forward Thinking Birmingham Access Centre team on 0300 300 0099.