WORKFORCE: The mental health trust appointed one of the country’s first senior nursing posts dedicated to older people’s mental health three months ago to help more people be cared for at home rather than in hospital.  

Barbara Vincent is the first nurse consultant for older people’s mental health services at Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, which serves one of the largest populations aged over 65 in the country. 

The full-time specialist nursing post is a key part of the FT’s plan to enhance its community based services.

Helen Greatorex, executive director of nursing and quality, said: “This post is at the heart of our plans for modernising older people’s mental health services, providing a valuable link for carers and patients in our community and on our wards.

She said Ms Vincent was playing a leading role in building up the trust’s dementia crisis teams and supporting its working age clinical teams to provide training and enhanced awareness of older people’s mental health needs.

Ms Vincent said: “Since starting in this post three months ago I have been able to offer dedicated support to our older people’s nursing teams across Sussex. I believe this is making a significant impact in preventing or delaying the need for hospital mental health care.

“I’m particularly proud of the development of the specialist care home ‘In Reach’ service which will work across Sussex, supporting staff in caring for older people with dementia. It is hoped this service will greatly improve the care older people receive – something which has been partly made possible through the trust creating this nurse consultant role.”