This development programme, accredited by the Royal College of General Practitioners, was commissioned by NHS England and aimed at GP mental health leads in CCGs in the West Midlands, East Midlands and East of England. It started in September 2014 and ran over six days, focusing on building leadership capacity, commissioning skills and knowledge of up to date developments in mental health policy, research and practice. The GPs undertook a work-based quality improvement project, which they presented at the programme finale on March 12th. These projects demonstrated how the GPs were applying the learning from the programme to make tangible changes in commissioning mental health services; for example, integrating physical and mental health care, strategic commissioning a range of services including perinatal mental health services, improving access to crisis services and developing a whole system for mental health at a local level to provide an integrated response. Dr Geraldine Strathdee, the National Clinical Director for Mental Health, met with all the GPs on the last day and was impressed by the compassionate, committed quality of their leadership. Participants are keen to maintain the momentum generated by the course and further proposals for follow on masterclasses are being discussed. A national conference is currently being planned for June 2015 to bring all GP mental health leads in CCGs across England together to share their learning and develop a manifesto for commissioning mental health for the new government: so watch this space!

If you are interested in developing the leadership capacity  for yourself or in your organisation to develop a mental health system that promotes rights, equalities and enables people to get on with their lives, contact  #@NewbiggingKaren

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