Positive outcome for successful Priory Group and NHS partnership

The Priory Group and Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust (BHFT) recently witnessed the culmination of an exciting partnership providing high quality mental health care and treatment in a homely community setting, with the opening of The Cloisters in Newbury.

The seeds of the collaboration were sown more than four years ago when Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust made the decision to relocate 24 service users, with highly complex needs, from a hospital environment to a community setting.

Service Line Director, Paul Cowans, from Priory Group, said: This is a very exciting and innovative partnership designed to deliver high quality care, treatment and rehabilitation in a community setting.

"Many of the patients have been in care for a long time, and a core objective of the home is to help patients make important steps back into community life."  

"The Priory Group felt it was important to identify the best and most effective way of supporting mental health service users in Berkshire and offered its considerable experience and expertise through a collaborative working partnership with the Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust."

"Thee partnership was sealed with the formation of a high-level steering group, including members from both organisations, to formulate operational plans and a clinical group to define the treatment and recovery models."

"A considerable amount of time was invested in locating a suitable site within the boundaries of Berkshire , ideally located near the town centre with good transport links and not too far from the services users' previous setting."  

"One of the most important considerations was how to make the relocation as easy and as comfortable as possible for the service users. Here the principle of collaborative working really made a difference. Proactive plans were put in place at an early stage including arranging trips for the service users to introduce them to the local area and visit local amenities."  

"The newly appointed Priory staff worked alongside existing BHFT staff to develop relationships with the service users prior to the transfer."

"The smooth transition was a success and the purpose-built unit with en-suite bedrooms, wheelchair accessible lounges, dining room, bathrooms and a large garden has been a huge success with the service users."

Matthew Franzidis, chief operating officer at the Priory Group said: "The experience with Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust has clearly demonstrated ways in which the Priory Group can explore and develop successful collaborative working relationships with the NHS."

"We aim to set the standards that other providers will aspire to and the success of The Cloisters and the positive impact it has had on the service users sets an example to the whole sector."

Julian Emms, Chief Executive of Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust said:

"I am delighted that the BHFT strategy of caring and supporting people in a community setting has become a reality. The partnership with the Priory Group has enabled this to happen and sends a clear message to other Trusts that building strong working relationships with private sector care providers can achieve the very best outcomes for service users." 

The Cloisters is a 24 bed adult rehabilitation unit offering treatment and rehabilitation in a comfortable setting for men and women with enduring mental health difficulties.

The unit provides recovery programmes for male and female adults with mental health problems requiring slow stream rehabilitation within an open community hospital setting.

The majority of service users have treatment resistant psychosis and some have histories of substance misuse. All service users have residual disabilities due to their condition affecting their functioning meaning that in the past community placements have failed.

The Cloisters' philosophy of care is to optimise pharmacological treatment and encourage occupational and psychological recovery on a group and individual basis.

The location of the unit enables a genuine community rehabilitation programme in a socially inclusive environment.