Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust

Derbyshire Community Health Services NHS Foundation Trust is one of the largest providers of specialist community health services in the country, providing in the region of 4,000 patient contacts each day and serving a population of over one million people in Derbyshire and Derby. We care for patients in 11 community hospitals and more than 30 health centres, as well as in clinics, GP practices, schools, care homes and, increasingly, in people’s own homes.

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

As a large community trust, we provide a wide range of health services to the population of Derbyshire across the whole age range. Many people we see have transient or more persistent thoughts about suicide. Our DCHS Way emphasises the value of patient-centred care with a focus on quality conversations between staff and the people who use our services.  This facilitates early identification of risk and the provision of appropriate support, including care and treatment from our own services and referral on as appropriate.

We support the multi-agency Derbyshire Suicide Prevention Partnership Strategy and work in collaboration with our colleagues across the county in pursuit of the reduction of risk of suicide and the enhanced support of those affected by suicide. We have also have a within-organisation Suicide Awareness and Prevention Group (SPAG) which assists in communication and collaboration across our services.

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What are your current priorities?

Among our current priorities are to:

– Develop a strategic approach to suicide awareness and prevention across the organisation

– Develop an appropriate package of suicide awareness and prevention training for our staff

– Collaborate at a multiagency level to develop a range of readily accessible and useful resources for the Derbyshire population, including written and electronic sources, such as apps

– Make suicide awareness and prevention resources available at all our sites to both staff and patients

– Contribute to multi-agency forums in pursuit of best practice in suicide risk management and suicide reduction

– Use opportunities, such as World Suicide Prevention Day, to build community resilience

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What challenges are you currently facing?

As a large and geographically dispersed organisation with a wide variety of services, one challenge is to ensure consistency of best practice across the organisation. Our SPAG is enabling us to face this challenge; and we seek to work closely with our colleagues in training to ensure that all staff will have access to the training that they need in order to ensure they have the confidence and knowledge to provide the very best support that they can to people who are or may become suicidal. At the same time, we recognise the value of having information and training that is sufficiently tailored to meet the diverse needs of the people whom we serve, ranging as they do across the whole range and with widely variable health needs.

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