Optima Care hosts partnership working forum

Optima Care recently hosted the first in a series of forums to help bring together professionals across community, crisis, forensic, AMHP and probation services to look at ways to ensure a smoother journey for all individuals on the secure pathway

This event represented the inaugural meeting of what we hope will become a quarterly cross-industry forum, bringing together providers and also community, crisis and forensic teams across the South East with a view to ensuring improved partnership working and a consistency in framework support.

As part of a representative group, we hope to explore various challenges and solutions over time. At this first meeting, we focused on legal frameworks in the community and looked at ways to ensure swift admission and treatment support to individuals in crisis.

Transforming Care Programme

In his capacity as Chair of Care England’s LD Working Group, Optima Care’s CEO Eddie Coombes will be using the findings to help inform the provider response to NHS England’s ‘Transforming Care Programme’.

Recovery & Outcomes Groups

In addition, the findings will be shared with the nationwide Recovery & Outcomes Groups to help inform their work in implementing My Shared Pathway. Every secure unit was encouraged to set up these groups to help drive the introduction of clearer outcomes for service users as described by My Shared Pathway.

Summary of key discussion points

Through the use of three real life case studies of individuals who are supported at The Chilterns, Denise highlighted some of the problems currently faced by many on the secure pathway (NB: The Chilterns is a high acuity residential setting that provides a step-down service). We narrowed this down to three key issues:

  1. MoJ – lack of legal frameworks to support safe management of complex risk behavior. We need more timely and proactive interventions to help prevent people moving back up the secure pathway. How can this be achieved?
  2. Funding – there’s a need for clarity, for all parties along the secure pathway – from police and probation officers to providers – around where funding comes from. Who can provide this overview?
  3. Changing landscape – is there a way of improving communication around who’s who in commissioning and providing updates when individuals change roles?


  • We aim to identify an individual who can provide a full overview of funding and who will share this information with all parties at the next quarterly forum.
  • As a group we will identify ways to help mitigate problems caused by the lack of legal frameworks. As a starting point, Denise suggested that we could offer experience / training days at The Chilterns to help aid police understanding of the secure pathway and appropriate proactive interventions. We are currently assessing the practicalities of this and will write to the police training college in Maidstone to gauge interest.
  • In addition, Optima Care now has its own accredited trainers in the Therapeutic Management of Violence & Aggression (TMVA) – this is also something that we are about to offer to local police and probation teams.

Next Forum

 We discussed running the forum on a quarterly basis and invite suggestions on who would like to host next and where. Please respond to Suzanne@optimacare.co.uk to this effect by Friday 30th October 2015 so that we might help put the wheels in motion for a Jan 2016 event.

Full list of attendees – 24th September 2015

Denise Banks, Community Living Director, Optima Care

Richard McKenzie, Chief Operating Officer, Optima Care

Sharon Buxton, Operations Manager, The Beacon

Esther Birchall, Occupational Therapist, Trevor Gibbens Unit

Lilly Vowles, Occupational Therapist, Trevor Gibbens Unit

Mark Comley, Offender Management Officer, East Division Intelligence Unit, Margate Police Station

Catherine Konzon, Medway Mental Health Team Manager

Tony Vallis, Managing Director, Cartref Homes

Jimmy Kerrigan, Project Manager, Kent Transforming Care Programme

Keith Ruskie, Community Mental Health Commissioning Team

Alyson Hammond, Business Development Manager, Optima Care

Dr Heleen Malherbe, Clinical Psychologist, Optima Care

Cheryll Champion, Supported Living Manager, Optima Care