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St Andrew’s Healthcare: Blazing a trail for mental health care by prioritising patients’ needs

St Andrew’s Healthcare is the UK’s biggest mental healthcare charity, treating around 900 patients with conditions including schizophrenia, autism and personality disorder. With our help they’ve taken a brand-new approach that’s having a significant impact.

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The charity was committed to move away from a top-down, bureaucratic management style that made decision making slow. They wanted to pioneer new ways of working focused around patients’ needs, improving outcomes and better alignment of resources.

We helped St Andrew’s achieve this vision by devolving decision-making to groups of wards focused on particular areas of specialist care and patient need. A unit might focus on dementia, learning difficulties or personality disorders, for example. These 15 Integrated Practice Units (IPUs) have freedom to implement ideas they develop with patients, strengthen relationships with stakeholders and manage their own budgeting and resourcing.

As well as designing the IPUs and new systems, we:

  • developed role profiles for the IPUs’ leaders and the assessment to recruit them
  • planned each unit’s progress to being fully up and running
  • supported teams to be more autonomous, helping St Andrew’s people take over ‘change co-ordinator’ roles from our people.

St Andrew’s is the first mental health care provider to organise itself around the principles of ‘value-based care’. This measures success based on outcomes for patients and their quality of life, not just treatment given.

The IPUs are at different stages of development planned to take two years. St. Andrew’s is committed to measuring and publishing outcomes which were developed in collaboration with patients and carers. There are already promising results. For example, some units are seeing quicker decisions on referrals, fewer ‘incidents’ and reduced spend on bank and agency staff as well as an even greater focus on things that matter to patients.

"PA has been a trusted strategic partner in our transformation. We had the vision around Value Based Healthcare and a very ambitious timetable, and over the last 15 months they have helped us make it reality. The team was great – a diverse set of experts, who gave us positive, practical and logical help. I appreciated the way they built confidence and trust in our transformation plan across our organisation – from our executive team through to the wards. We are in a very different place now; our ward staff feel empowered to actively make change happen and drive better outcomes for our patients. PA challenged our thinking, stretched our ambitions and helped us make difficult decisions." 
Martin Beer, CFO and Transformation Director, St Andrew's Healthcare

"PA brought relentless optimism and tenacity to helping us achieve significant changes to the way we care for our patients. They helped us strengthen our culture of compassion and excellence, committing us to improving patients’ mental and physical health by further organising our care around the individual. PA have helped us refine our systems for identifying, developing and growing new leaders, who are ensuring we drive our 15 Integrated Practice Units (IPUs) forward. We’re grateful for the high quality practical tools and skills PA developed in collaboration with us; the framework, plan and support which helped our clinicians make it happen, and in helping us develop the roadmap guiding what we do next."
Dr Sanjith Kamath, Executive Medical Director, St Andrew's Healthcare

Putting the #patient first. @StAndrewsCare is blazing the trail for #mentalhealth. @PA_Consulting's [NEW] client story

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