East Midlands Academic Health Science Network

In May 2013 East Midlands Academic Health Science Network was established as one of 15 Academic Health Science Networks covering England – something no other country benefits from. We are charged with improving patient and population health by translating research into practice and developing and implementing integrated health care services. At the EMAHSN we serve Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire and Rutland.

All AHSNs are licensed by and operate under a contract with NHS England.

EMAHSN’s vision reflects the NHS constitution:

‘The transformation of patient access, experiences and outcomes at the earliest opportunity through innovation and enterprise working at the limits of science, bringing the highest level of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health.’

We have developed a simple statement of purpose:

‘Igniting innovation: bringing together the NHS, universities, industry and social care to transform the health of our 4.5m East Midlands residents and stimulate wealth creation.’

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

The East Midlands Patient Safety Collaborative (EM PSC) undertook a stakeholder engagement and scoping exercise across the East Midlands (EM) region to gain an understanding of existing patient safety initiatives, partner priorities in relation to patient safety and stakeholder views on how the Collaborative should operate. From this engagement suicide was identified as a priority. Respondents indicated that the EM PSC could best add value to existing work in this area by capturing learning and sharing lessons learned. The EMAHSN is actively working in supporting approaches and interventions aligned with the national suicide prevention strategy. Though its connections across the east midlands and wider the EMAHSN is working to connect, support, influence and where indicated innovate. The work is underpinned by evidence based improvement methodologies.

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What are your current priorities?

Suicide is not only a tragic loss but can also touch many people’s lives. The National Suicide Prevention Strategy provides guidance as to approaches and interventions. To support this there is a need to promote awareness and a belief that there are approaches that can help. Many (30-45%) who die by suicide will have had contact with local surgeries prior to the event. Specific awareness and response training for primary care staff and GP’s is sparse. We wish to explore Suicide awareness and response training focused from a GP surgery perspective and see if this is possible, sustainable and evaluate the influence.

The benefits for communities and care providers from learning from events is acknowledged. Many deaths by suicide are not audited or reviewed in depth by primary care compared with all suicides in secondary mental health care receiving robust root cause analysis reviews. There is tendency to explore suicide events in silos rather than across multi agencies. The EMAHSN are planning to explore the potential for post event reviews based from Surgeries so those who had involvement and contact with the person are able to meet to discuss and explore if there are learning opportunities.

The PSC has already supported three local conferences to enable invitations across the East Midlands (Derbyshire Healthcare NHS FT; suicide prevention, NUH Patient Safety and the Association for Simulated Practice in Healthcare (ASPiH)). This to continue as an approach to help share and disseminate information, learning and experience.

To explore the possibility of suicide awareness training in Industry and commercial setting. The need to target those at risk could be facilitated by greater awareness and understanding in these setting. We are to explore the possibility of developing this approach.

Through the Clinical advisor role, to offer support, guidance and help to the 5 areas of the east midlands (Derby and Derbyshire; Leicester, Rutland and Leicestershire; Nottingham and Nottinghamshire. Northampton and Northamptonshire; and Lincoln and Lincolnshire) in their local suicide prevention strategy approaches. By, where possible, attending meetings, sharing skills knowledge and experience and communicating.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

Suicide and suicide prevention is an issue that is influenced by a wide and complex interrelationship between a person and the circumstances they find themselves in. There is rarely if ever one causal factor in an individual’s suicide. Thus the approach is a whole society responsibility not exclusive that for health or social care. This on the back drop of changes and stressors for individuals in society. An individual’s beliefs and fears will affect their willingness and ability to share and seek help when they are experiencing suicidal thoughts. This in turn will be effected by the beliefs, stigma and understanding by those who may encounter someone with suicidal thoughts. The challenge is on raising awareness and understanding, to empower individuals and society to make a difference and to ensure that if statutory input is needed this is the best care possible based on current evidence and resource availability.

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