Norman LambCare Minister Norman Lamb has welcomed a new psychosis pathway aiming to revolutionise patient care and transform sufferers’ health and quality of life.

People with psychosis currently die 15-20 years earlier than the rest of the population so the Wessex Psychosis Pathway will see clinicians and people with severe mental illness work together to ensure those with psychosis will receive the right support in the right place and at the right time.

The Pathway, so called because it is being led by the Wessex Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), will be piloted in Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and was recently awarded funding by NHS England (Regional Innovation Fund).

Commenting on the project, Lamb said: “This work has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of people experiencing some of the most debilitating mental health problems in Wessex.

"The pioneers of the Wessex psychosis pathway want to learn from the best. They have seen the fantastic outcomes generated by pathways in stroke and cardiac care, and they want the same for mental health. This work sets a shining example of innovation and good practice across the rest of the country."

Speaking at today's launch event for the pathway at Balmer Lawn Hotel in Brockenhurst [20 November], lead consultant Dr Shanaya Rathod said she hopes the Wessex Pathway becomes "the gold standard for care of people with psychosis".

“We were absolutely clear that this pathway needs to be developed with the insight of people who use mental health services, and their feedback has been a revelation," she added.

“Pathways are the key to reducing variation in healthcare, and can deliver dramatic improvements in patient care. Our work here absolutely fits in with the government’s drive to ensure parity for mental and physical healthcare."

It is hoped the new pathway will replicate the successes seen in stroke and cardiac care, where the right approach being employed has already helped transform sufferers’ health and quality of life.

The project has also received a small grant of the The Royal College of Psychiatrists who's chair Dr Sridevi Kalidindi joined Dr Rathod at the launch event along with National Clinical Director for Mental Health Dr Geraldine Strathdee.

Dr Strathdee said: “It is unacceptable that people with psychosis wait up to two years for care. It is also clear that while some areas commission and provide outstanding best practice care, the variation across England is large.

“This means that, as we have seen in the recently published national audit of schizophrenia, some young people and their families who live with psychosis cannot now access the right medicines, the right psychological therapies, the right physical care, the right support and the right information to self-manage and make informed choices about their care.

“The introduction of the standards for access to early intervention psychosis services from next year will start to bring better care across the country. I am delighted to attend this event to hear how local partnerships, experts by experience, clinical champions and the transforming Wessex AHSN are developing this new psychosis pathway.”

Watch Geraldine Strathdee speaking about Mental Health Commissioning Post-NHS Reforms at