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West Midlands Health Innovation Network
October 2016

Welcome to the bi-monthly newsletter of the West Midlands Mental Health Innovation Network. For further details on the Network, contact Lily Singh or Blair Davis, Network Co-ordinators, on 0121 301 4343. 



Welcome back to this months Network newsletter! In this edition we will update you on our latest event held in September in collaboration with Birmingham Science City on Dementia and other network news, innovation inspiration and useful news and resources. 

This newsletter also features the first edition of our new opportunities calendar; a handy guide collating details of relevant funding opportunities, calls and competitions, upcoming events and other items we hope you will find useful. As always we are keen to hear from network members so if you have an item you would like to feature in the calendar please just get in touch.

The newsletter aims to enhance the work of the network and respond to the needs of its members, and we encourage you to get in touch with your feedback to ensure the network is shaped by its members.

This week started on World Mental Health Day (10th October). The overall objective of this day is to raise awareness of mental health issues around the world. This years theme was  ‘Dignity in Mental Health-Psychological & Mental Health First Aid for All’. There were many things happening around the Country to mark the day, including the
Duke and Duchess of Cambridge meeting with young people with experiences of mental health problems. If you would like to read more about World Mental Health day and this years theme please click here!


Opinion poll

We'd like to hear from you, our network members on which challenges you would like to see us address. Please follow the link below and have your say!



Network news and events
Network Update
Innovation inspiration
Opportunities Calendar
Focus on...


Network news and events



Following the success of the Inaugural West Midlands Mental Health Innovation Network (WMMHIN) event held in May on Individual Placement and Support (IPS) and the official launch event which had an element of Crisis Care in July the network held their third event on 13th September on the topic of Dementia.

The event was extremely well attended with a wide variety of delegates present including Clinicians, Commissioners, patient representatives, third sector organisations and academics.

Presentations were delivered by a range of speakers that covered topics from Dementia and patient safety, current solutions and dementia research.
If you would like to take a look at the presentations from the day please
click here.

The second part of the afternoon was dedicated to workshops which focused on early dementia challenges of living well, Dementia Friendly Person-Centred Design & Technology, and Dementia and Enriching Lives via Creativity, Arts, Nature and Sport/Supportive communities. Delegates had the opportunity to discuss these topics and challenges faced in these areas, as well as possible solutions. Delegates were encouraged to work with the network to develop the challenges discussed so that they could be submitted to the Meridian health innovation exchange to engage wider support.
The presentations from the workshops can be found below:

Robert Harvey Nursing Home
Dementia and Enriching Lives through Creativity
Early Dementia: Challenges of living well


Coming up....Prevention

The next network event will be on the topic of Prevention.

Prevention is a key priority for NHS England and featured heavily in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health states that one of the eight principles to underpin reform is that prevention and early intervention must be prioritised.

One of the priority actions for the NHS by 2020/21 is to promote good mental health and prevent poor mental health in order to help people lead better lives as equal citizens.

The Taskforce were told by people with lived experience of mental health problems, carers and social care professionals that prevention is a top priority.

The prevention agenda involves good parenting, and school support, supportive communities, decent housing and good work as well as the opportunity to forge satisfying relationships. This spans local as well as national government so the Taskforce set out some recommendations in order to build on the Prime Minister’s commitment to a “mental health revolution”.

To read the report and find out more please click here.

Speakers at our event include Dr Geraldine Strathdee and Professor Max Birchwood. For further details on the event please see the full agenda. If you are interested in attending the event to hear some engaging presentations related to prevention and take part in workshops lead by experts in the field on some of the key areas where challenges are being faced, with the opportunity to network please join us and click here!

WMAHSN Masterclass on Intellectual Property

This free two-hour session aims to give NHS employees an overview of intellectual property, looking at the different forms of intellectual property, its protection, how it applies to your ideas and how MidTECH can help you take those ideas forward. The session will have interactive elements and include guest speakers who have worked with MidTECH in the past.

And finally....

Would you like to be featured in our newsletter? Or perhaps you want support to implement an innovation in your practice area?
Whatever your innovation needs or news. please
 get in touch and tell us about it. We want to hear about your innovative practice, the challenges you are facing or the issues you want solutions to.


Network Update


The 100,000 Genomes Project was launched by the Prime Minister in 2012 and Genomics England, owned and funded by the Department of Health, was set up in order to deliver the project to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients by 2017.
The four main aims are:
  1. To create an ethical and transparent programme based on consent
  2. To bring benefit to patients and set up a genomic medicine service for the NHS
  3. To enable new scientific discovery and medical insights
  4. And to kick start the development of a UK genomics industry
The project plan was to focus on patients with rare disease and their families, and patients with cancer.
The West Midlands Genomics Centre is hosted by University Hospital Birmingham and encompasses 17 other acute Trusts in the West Midlands region.
Discussions are underway in to the potential for extending recruitment to the project to Mental health Trusts for the rare diseases part of the programme. Currently Early Onset Dementia (encompassing fronto-temporal dementia and prion disease) is being considered. If you would like to be a part of these regional meetings or to find out more, please contact Linda Everard at

If you would like to read more about Genomics England and the 100,000 Genome Project please click here.


Coming soon...

The West Midlands MHIN website will soon be up and running and will provide information and resources on mental health innovations regionally and nationally, as well as news, funding information and upcoming events.
We are excited to launch the website and use it to facilitate the spread of innovation and we hope that you are this space!



Prevention is the only way lasting change can be achieved

Prevention review: Landscape paper

With a strong focus on prevention, the Mental Health Foundation commends “pivotal” Mental Health Taskforce Report

Preventing mental ill health: time to take action

Approach mental health like cancer care: prevention is key

NHS vows to transform mental health services with extra £1bn a year

The week in Radio: Unhappy Child, Unhealthy Adult; In Therapy; The Forum: Anger

Vulnerable children ‘re-traumatised’ by services, charity says
From Innovation Expo 2016

TedTalks - ideas worth spreading


Innovation inspiration

Perinatal mental health and the prevention agenda 

As we prepare for the next WMMHIN event ‘Prevention’ and perinatal mental health and well-being is again in the news. There is evidence fear and stigma surrounding mental health hinders both the reporting and screening of maternal mental health issues.  

As noted in the 2013 NSPCC report ‘Prevention in Mind’ “Mental illnesses affect more than 1 in 10 women during pregnancy and the first year after childbirth, and can have a devastating impact on them and their families”.

Two new innovations aim to address elements of this complex issue:

An online mapping tool has been launched to help health professionals improve services for mothers with mental health problems during pregnancy or the year after birth. The tool was developed to help local partners rate their local offer against national standards to identify strengths and gaps where more work is needed. The mapping tool has seven themed worksheets, which each set out key standards for perinatal mental health services and pathways that should ideally exist in each local area. 

A new “low stigma” tool to help prevent perinatal mental problems is being developed for potential use by midwives and health visitors. The tool, called the perinatal emotional health check, combines standard mental health screening questions with a new set of questions asking how the mother balances different parts of her life.

Meridian health innovation exchange

Meridian is an online health innovation exchange that supports the spread of good practice to deliver improved health and wealth across the West Midlands. 

Meridian is a pioneering interactive platform for anyone to share their innovations and ideas, build groups and networks and make contact with people whose innovations could change healthcare in the West Midlands. The website will support the adoption of good practice in health and social care and share lessons learned from across the sector.

Users – including people from the NHS, academia, industry and the third sector – are able to submit their ideas so that others can comment, suggest ways in which it may be improved and vote for innovations that are good for the region to support and worthy of further development. Alternatively, users can respond to campaigns, where there has been a specific healthcare need identified in the West Midlands which may be solved through an existing or new innovation. 

Meridian moderators, who are active in the innovation community in the West Midlands, will review the submissions to assess the innovation effectively and provide practical support for the development of the idea.

When an idea is submitted, Meridian will notify the user if similar innovations have been submitted, allowing people to partner with others in the community who have had similar insights. Once an innovation has been submitted, the user becomes the Innovation Champion for that idea and they can put the power of the community to work.

Innovator points are awarded for activity such as submitting innovations, commenting on others’ innovations, voting, receiving votes and submitting stories into the Innovation Warehouse. As users accrue points, they attain a higher innovator status as an indicator of their activity in the community and their entrepreneurial insights.

Organisations that are part of the WMAHSN’s enhanced membership scheme will get access to even more features and benefits of Meridian. For more information, read the guide to getting started with Meridian, or take a look at the handy Meridian flyer.

Register now and get involved!



Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust are currently piloting an opt out project using dry blood spot kits for adult inpatient forensic services to test for blood borne viruses such as HIV and Hepatitis.

The aim is for the project to reduce stigma, particularly for that of HIV, by normalising and encouraging the uptake of testing in a vulnerable patient population who are experiencing serious mental illness. The pilot also enables early detection to optimise treatment and recovery outcomes for patients’ physical and mental health.

The pilot is due to run until March 2017 and has so far been successful. If you would like any further information on BBV please contact Sharon Duffy.


Opportunities Calendars

 Funding calls, events, competitions and other important dates for your diary, the new WMMHIN opportunities calendar is your one stop shop for relevant funding and financing opportunities,  competitions and events around the region.  If you have an item you wo0uld like featured in the calendar, just drop us a line.  

Oct-Dec 2016:



Focus on...

Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS)

Medically Unexplained Symptoms (MUS) describes patients’ who have persistent bodily complaints for which a physical cause cannot be found, and there is often an underlying psychological component.
MUS are extremely common and are the primary reason for consulting a GP in up to 20% of patients. Patients with persistent multiple MUS are often seen by multiple hospital specialities which results in fragmented care.
Birmingham Medically Unexplained Symptoms Service (BMUSS) is a pilot service at Birmingham City Hospital. The pilot is funded by the West Midlands Academic Health Sciences Network and The Health Foundation. BMUSS has a staff team which includes expertise from general practice, acute medicine, psychological medicine, and specialist therapists.
BMUSS offers a range of services for both professionals and patients including:
  • Case consultation to treating teams and medical specialities
  • Future management recommendations and suggested plans of care
  • Teaching and training
  • Complex Symptoms Clinic:
  1. Specialist Assessment
  2. Evidence-based psychological therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT)
  3. Information-provision, sign-posting and referral to other services as needed.
The BMUSS has been extremely successful so far and there have been positive reported outcomes from patients who have described how helpful the service has been as well as a reduction in their symptoms/episodes, and there are hopes for it to be commissioned in other Trusts across the region.

For more information on MUS please contact
Dr Amanda Gatherer.

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