Expansion of Time to Talk service in West Sussex
04 July 2017

Expansion of Time to Talk service in West Sussex

The West Sussex Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) service, known locally as Time to Talk, has been expanded to provide more support to people living with diabetes, heart disease and/or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/lung disease.

Provided by Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust (SCFT) the Time to Talk Health service offers talking therapies for people who are finding it difficult to manage their long-term health conditions. It is part of a national initiative to provide psychological therapies to people with physical health conditions who have become worried, anxious or low in mood.

The service already has a good record of working with patients presenting with long-term conditions and has effective working relationship with local community nursing and therapy teams. The service is now being extended into GP surgeries and acute hospitals across West Sussex to reach more people in need quicker.

Building on these strengths, therapists in the service are co-located in physical health teams allowing better communication between professionals with the aim to provide better health outcomes, such as:

  • Making and sustaining healthy lifestyle changes.
  • Overcoming fears, anxieties or low mood related to living with a long-term health condition.
  • Supporting patients to reduce the impact of their condition on their work, family life and other activities.

Dr Jackie Allt, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and SCFT Lead for Wellbeing said: “This is fantastic news for the people of West Sussex who have a long-term health condition who also need psychological support. People can self-refer to our service and speak to one of our friendly professional therapists. We can work together with the individual and other healthcare professionals to agree a shared plan to improve wellbeing.”

Dr Karen Eastman, Clinical Director at NHS Horsham and Mid Sussex CCG, said: “The aim is to identify people who are struggling as early as possible so that we can provide the support that’s needed. We know that helping with the emotional distress that comes with a diagnosis can really make a difference to quality of life.

“The service aims to help professionals better identify when patients may be struggling emotionally, as well as helping individuals to improve their own coping skills.”

Dr David Stokes, Clinical Lead for diabetes at NHS Coastal West Sussex CCG, said: “Diabetes is a condition that is increasing across Coastal West Sussex and we are committed to improving the care we provide to our patients who have this illness.

“Working in partnership and listening to people’s experiences are important steps to ensuring that everyone living with diabetes receives the support they need to help them manage their own condition. Emotional and psychological support has been lacking and this new service will give our patients the support they need.”

People aged 18+ with a long-term health condition who are experiencing anxiety, stress or depression are encouraged to self-refer to the Time to Talk Health team in any of the following ways: