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A nurse is seeking to “fill the gaps” between services for people living with both mental health problems and drug or alcohol dependency in East Anglia as part of new leadership role.
Leah Spry has been appointed as a specialist dual diagnosis lead working across both Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and substance misuse charity provider Change Grow Live.
“I feel that this is a really exciting time to be working in this area”
She has been seconded into the role for two years from her job as clinical nurse specialist with the early intervention in psychosis service at NSFT, a mental health trust.
The aim of the role is to improve access to appropriate services and timely treatment for people with a dual diagnosis who can often fall between the cracks in the health and care system, with the ultimate goal of improving outcomes.
“My role will focus on developing an integrated model which will see NSFT and Change Grow Live work closely together to fill the gaps which can exist between services,” said Ms Spry.
“Our aim is to make it easier for mental health staff to refer people for substance misuse support and vice versa so that we can improve the access which people have to these vital services.”
“This partnership is an important step towards breaking down the barriers between these two service areas”
She said there were also hopes to train up staff across both NSFT and Change Grow Live to become “dual diagnosis champions” to better support patients in these services.
“I feel that this is a really exciting time to be working in this area and look forward to liaising closely with colleagues at both NSFT and Change Grow Live to make a positive difference to this vulnerable group of people,” added Ms Spry.
Vicki Markiewicz, executive director at Change Grow Live, said the new appointment would ensure individuals with complex mental health and substance misuse needs could receive specialist support.
“We know that substance misuse and mental health are very closely connected, and this partnership between Change Grow Live and NSFT is an important step towards breaking down the barriers between these two service areas in the East of England,” she added.