Mental health forum in Portsmouth area is a success in first year

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A FORUM supporting people with mental health issues has been hailed a success in its first year.

South eastern Hampshire and Fareham and Gosport clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) set up and support the mental health service user forum, which covers Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

Set up last June, the forum provides the opportunity for service users to let commissioners know about the quality of services they receive, to suggest improvements and highlight good practice.

One project being worked on is looking at the way people are discharged from hospital – asking patients and carers what works well, and what needs to be improved.

Dr Emma Nash, mental health lead for Fareham and Gosport and south eastern Hampshire CCGs, said: ‘We are incredibly proud of the work we have achieved with the forum so far and the valuable feedback we have had to help shape our mental health commissioning.

‘Meetings are held every other month, and it is important to us to ensure the work of the forum is led by people who use mental health services – it is not under the direction of the CCG.

‘Guest speakers are invited to attend and give updates on initiatives to improve services. We look forward to building on the strong foundation we have laid.’

Forum members include service users, carers, patient groups, the voluntary sector and service providers.