Our new Primary Care Mental Health Service.

What is the Primary Care Mental Health Service?

The Primary Care Mental Health Service is a service that covers all surgeries in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. The service provides specialist mental health support for GP surgeries so that patients with mental ill health can access prompt advice and support, receive help in a community setting and experience a more joined-up approach to care.

You can view a short video about our service below. You can also download a leaflet from the "further Information" box at the foot of this page

What is the service?

The Primary Care Mental Health Service promotes early assessment, treatment and/or onward referral in the community. It supports patients to focus on achievable goals and access local community resources. 

The service promotes a patient-centred joint approach to physical and mental health, and support patients to step down from specialist mental health services. Patients’ social care needs are also considered as part of this integrated approach.

The Primary Care Mental Health Service is for anyone aged between 17-65 years with mental ill health and is based on a person’s needs rather than their diagnosis. Based on need, they may be referred on to different health services, such as specialist mental health services, including the First Response Service.

The patient sees their GP and a decision is made as to which service would be appropriate for the patient - this could be a referral to the Primary Care Mental Health Service team. Once referred, service staff will make contact with the patient / service user and either provide telephone advice and signposting or offer a face-to-face assessment.

Patients will meet Primary Care Mental Health Service staff in their local GP surgery, meaning they are in a familiar environment and reducing travel. The service aims to ensure patients get the right treatment in the right place at the right time by the right person based on their need. 

What we've seen is fewer people requiring specialist care and the majority were seen by the Prism team in their GP surgery where they received signposting, education, advice or interventions.

We need your feedback

If you are a patient have accessed the Primary Care Mental Health Service, we would like to get your feedback on your experience. Please click here to complete a short survey. Your feedback will help us to improve the service.

If you would like further information, please contact 01733 748777 or cpm-tr.prismservice@nhs.net.


CPFT welcomes extremely positive evaluation report on our Primary Care Mental Health Service

An independent consulting company has responded extremely positively after evaluating a new GP-based mental health service run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT).

York Consulting was asked to look at the impact of the new Primary Care Mental Health Service that has been rolled out across all GP surgeries in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough over the past year. The new service puts specialist mental health practitioners in all GP practices to help and support patients with moderate to severe mental health conditions. The new service means patients can talk to mental health professionals in their own GP practice – an environment they are already familiar with.

York Consulting spent four months this year talking to GPs, patients and CPFT mental health staff to see what impact the new service is having on the different groups. The company’s evaluation report has highlighted some extremely positive feedback and has also highlighted some areas that service staff and GPs need to develop. In its summary, York stated that the service “is a value-adding addition to the mental health support landscape in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough” and that the findings “are testament to the hard work that has gone into the design and day-to-day delivery of the Primary Care Mental Health Service thus far“.

Some of the report’s positive findings include:

  • The service is making a positive contribution to patient wellbeing and to the management of mental health conditions
  • Considerable shorter waiting times for patients accessing the service
  • Patients are not having to access secondary care and they are getting the support they need in primary care
  • The evaluation found evidence of high levels of patient satisfaction coupled with positive feedback from secondary care professionals about the impact of the service
  • The location and duration of appointments in the new service have generated very positive patient feedback, as have the short waiting times and the skills, knowledge and empathy of the service practitioners.
  • Patients value the inputs they are able to make into decisions about their next steps and consistently report feeling listened to and taken seriously.
  • The service is helping to break down barriers between primary and secondary care, and between physical and mental health provision.

Ree Wood, the Primary Care Mental Health Service Manager, said staff were delighted with the findings of the report. “We want to thank all those GPs, staff and patients who took the time to work with York Consulting on their evaluation. It’s extremely important when a new health service is launched that someone from outside the organisation can look at the impact it is having – both positively and negatively.

“Over the past 18 months, our new service has rolled out in phases across the county. Our mental health teams, GP practice staff, social care staff, Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, and third-sector colleagues have worked tirelessly to get the service embedded in primary care, and the evaluation report reinforces their efforts.

“Launching a new service is not without its challenges, and we’ve had plenty of those. There are areas that we know we need to look at. These include improving relationships with GP practice locum staff, of which there is a high turnover, and gaps in provision for patients with personality disorders. We will continue working with our GP colleagues to ensure the service continues to develop and provide the best possible experience for patients who need support with their mental health.”

CPFT’s Director of Operations Julie Frake-Harris (pictured right) added: “Our Primary Care Mental Health Service is quite unique in the country and we have received a lot of attention from other NHS Trusts around the country who are looking at our model. York Consulting’s evaluation demonstrates that our service is having a positive impact on our patients. We can now use their findings to look at the areas we need to develop and also build on the great work put in by our staff and GP practice colleagues.”

Emma Tiffin, a Cambridgeshire GP, and Clinical Mental Health Lead for the county’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, (pictured right, below) concluded: “This is a really positive evaluation of a service that is community-based, integrates the mental, physical and social determinants of health and is designed to ensure a seamless pathway for our patients and a sustainable mental health system for the long term. Quality care and good patient outcomes are key to what the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough mental health system aims to deliver and this evaluation supports our aims.”

York Consulting’s evaluation doesn’t stop with this report. In September and October this year, the company continued to follow up consultations with patients to explore outcomes and impacts in more detail.

If you’d like to read the full evaluation report, please download it from the bottom of this page. If you’d like further information, please contact cpm-tr.prismservice@nhs.net.

The page was last updated on 15 July 2020 by andrea.bateman.


Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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