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Berkshire Healthcare celebrates 1st Anniversary of new mental health service in Reading

MHICS Reading Team

The Mental Health Integrated Community Service (MHICS), which provides early interventions for people with significant mental illness, celebrates 1 year since its launch in Reading.

At the anniversary event, Polite Tshuma, MHICS Reading Service Manager, Berkshire Healthcare said: “Throughout all the challenges that come with setting up a new service, patient care remains at the centre of everything we do. The team are dedicated and passionate about providing the best experience for the people using our service and I’m proud of all we’ve achieved so far and hopeful for the future."

What is MHICS? 

The Mental Health Integrated Community Service (MHICS) is a resilience and recovery focused service which aims to support people with significant mental illness in the community and reduce the need for secondary care in inpatient units. Offering this specialist care in the community also aims to reduce repeat GP appointments.

GPs, mental health professionals, pharmacists, community connectors, psychiatrists and psychologists work collaboratively with the voluntary sector and local authority to provide specialist support and care.

Leanne Ballantyne, Clinical Transformation Lead, Berkshire Healthcare says: “The success of our first year has shown us the real need in the community for this type of service. MHICS addresses the factors that contribute to poor mental health such as housing and employment issues, isolation, and poor physical health alongside other clinical interventions. Many people experiencing these difficulties have been unable to access support until now. We have had some great feedback from patients and other services, and I look forward to rolling out MHICS to the rest of Berkshire.”

Read more about the MHICS Service (opens in new browser tab)

Leanne Ballantyne and Polite Tshuma cutting anniversary cake MHICS Reading anniversary cake

The impact of MHICS

100% of people offered appointments in under 4 weeks from referral. The service has supported over 570 local people in its first year, with the majority reporting a positive impact on their mental health and wellbeing.

One person who used the MHICS service is Reading claimed “It was very helpful, it made me see things clearer and feel more able to cope when things go wrong.”

MHICS nationally

As well as Reading, Berkshire Healthcare have rolled out the MHICS service across Wokingham, Bracknell, Slough, Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead since 2019. MHICS is the first stage of an extensive programme to improve community mental health services in line with NHS England’s Community Mental Health Framework.

Read more about the Community Mental Health Transformation Programme (opens in a new browser tab)