Major milestone for new ‘talking therapies’ service

  • 07 August 2019


Plans for an innovative new ‘talking therapies’ service for people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire (BNSSG) reached a major milestone this week with the signing of a 10-year contract between new provider Vita Health and BNSSG Clinical Commissioning Group.

Vita Health, working in partnership with Windmill Hill City Farm and Bluebell Care Trust, was awarded the contract in April this year. Since then, NHS commissioners have been carrying out a detailed ‘due diligence’ process to confirm the organisation’s ability to deliver the new service, which is designed to ensure a more joined-up and holistic approach to support for everyone in the area.

With this process now complete, the contract to deliver the service has been signed and the new service will launch on 1 September 2019.

Welcoming the news, CCG Clinical Lead for Primary Care Dr Martin Jones, said:

This is great news for people in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. We know that talking therapies are hugely effective in treating mild to moderate anxiety and depression.

We’ve been working closely with partners - including GPs and people with lived experience of mental ill health - for over 2 years now to shape the new model and ensure that we can offer a much more joined-up service. This collaborative approach will ensure that as well as receiving high-quality therapy, users of the service will be supported to access additional support and activities in the community that will help their recovery and wellbeing.

As a provider of talking therapies in other parts of the country, Vita Health has already proven itself as an innovative and dynamic service partner to other NHS organisations. We are looking forward to working with them and improving access to talking therapy for everyone who needs it.

Chief Executive Officer at Vita Health Derrick Farrell said:

At Vita Health we recognise the importance of, and are totally committed to, providing effective psychological therapies to the people of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. We believe we have developed an innovative solution that we are looking forward to building on from 1 September. Our proposition is aimed at being fully inclusive and throughout this process we have been working hard with all providers, and the CCG, to ensure that continuity of care is our priority.

We would like to thank everyone involved so far for their drive and passion, and we look forward to working together for the benefit of the whole community. Partnerships and working as part of the community are an essential part of our service and we continue to work with local mental health groups on meaningful co-production as we embed the new service.

The CCG is committed to improving access to psychological therapies for local people and worked closely with a range of service users, healthcare professionals and local partner organisations to design the new, BNSSG-wide service.

As well as continuing to provide a range of psychological therapies, the service will put a greater emphasis on understanding people’s personal circumstances, and connecting to the additional community and social support which is proven to aid recovery.

Vita Health is already working closely with service partners across Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire to prepare for the launch of the new service. Letters introducing the new provider and setting out transition arrangements have been issued this week and a new service website will be launched later this month.