The Only National Awards For Non-Medical / Non-Clinical NHS Staff & Volunteers

Transforming service delivery between the NHS and the voluntary sector

27th September 2019

A guest blog by Sue Murphy, CEO, Catalyst.

The benefits for Catalyst as part of the voluntary sector collaborating with the NHS are the understanding of local needs, high levels of trust and engagement with local communities, and the ability to work across multiple services to provide holistic care for individuals and building infrastructures that create long-term capacity.

Catalyst works in partnership with Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust for the delivery of a variety of projects:  i-access (drug and alcohol service), Safe Havens (providing people experiencing a mental health crisis with professional out of hours support) and Primary Care Networks (groups of general practices working together with a range of local providers, including across primary care, community services, social care and the voluntary sector, to offer more personalised and co-ordinated health and social care to their local populations).

Being a part of a multidisciplinary team has broadened the opportunity for personal development for staff; learning new skills as well as working more closely with specialist clinicians and being able to have informal discussions about patient need and care outside of multi-disciplinary meetings. This has had the positive result of being seen as an equal. This opportune moment to have an open dialogue is not something that has happened in the past in any other form other than a brief telephone conversation to discuss patient need.

The Catalyst workforce are non-medical staff who engage, coordinate, signpost and support people to access a wide range of community services and resources including social care, housing, family, debt and employment counselling that support maintaining good health and well-being. They support people to access evidenced-based harm reduction, treatment and recovery support to move people into long term sustained recovery and social (re)integration. Using brief interventions, motivational interviewing and psychosocial interventions, Catalyst staff offer services which prevent hospital admissions and ambulance call-outs, provide peer support and advice to those with complex conditions.

Drawing on close connections to local communities and beneficiary groups, Catalyst is designing services that produce better outcomes and experiences for people, while saving the NHS money by cutting the need for costly treatments in hospital settings.

Creating a structure within which the team can contribute to changing team dynamics and group case discussions is a crucial factor in allowing different perspectives to create more informed decisions and has paved the way for collaborative working and the feeling that opinions are valid and valued. The skillset of Catalyst staff is offering brief interventions, psychosocial interventions and motivational interviewing techniques to alter a person’s behaviours and relationships with society in order to reduce the impact of the person’s behaviour.

Personal feedback from staff has included: the opportunity to work within the team to learn new skills; the chance to speak with GP’s, Consultants and Clinicians for their input on how the service is being delivered. The benefits it has provided have created pride from ensuring its success. Being involved in setting up new services not only for the service, but the County, is adding a new dimension to the role and the prospect of informing meaningful change.

In a time of workforce challenges being able to offer staff flexible working opportunities within new partnerships presents Catalyst with the chance to upskill staff and boost morale, demonstrate value for money for the sector and to be a part of a transformational and innovative approach to service delivery.

Catalyst (www.catalystsupport.org.uk) is a non-profit organisation working with people who are dealing with issues stemming from drug and alcohol use and mental health – including housing, involvement with criminal justice, relationships with family and friends and getting back into work. Guildford-based for over 30 years, we work throughout Surrey and its borders in partnership with a wide variety of statutory and non-statutory organisations and bodies to provide support.

We believe change is achievable when facilitated by skilled professional staff and volunteers offering a friendly, respectful, non-judgemental and personal approach.

Twitter @CATALYSTethos

Sue Murphy, CEO, Catalyst.