Mental health and learning disability services

The PHA provides nursing leadership on the Bamford specialist high support services steering group and associated work streams, which include forensic services, personality disorder services, low secure services and prison mental health. The work of these groups has resulted in the:

  • design and development of a draft forensic care pathway due to be implemented later in 2011;
  • development of a therapeutic care model for low secure inpatient provision;
  • development of a draft low secure pathway;
  • identification of capital funding for low secure inpatient beds;
  • approval by the commissioning team of investment proposal templates for the development of personality disorder services;
  • provision of research funding to enable a rapid review of personality disorders, which will provide evidence to assist direct work in this field.

We are leading the implementation of the regional strategy for perinatal mental health and the associated work streams, which include:

  • developing a regional integrated care pathway;
  • service developments and improvements;
  • developing, planning and delivering training and awareness.

This year, we completed a review of addiction services in the Belfast and South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust (HSCT) areas. This work has been used to take forward a regional review of inpatient addiction beds across Northern Ireland.

We have participated in the development of the DHSSPS strategic framework Delivering excellence support recovery: a professional framework for mental health issues in Northern Ireland (2011-2016).pdf and will jointly chair the implementation of the strategy in conjunction with departmental colleagues from the nursing and midwifery advisory group in the forthcoming year. We continue to provide lead nurse advice and support to the PHA in the management of potential suicide clusters and suicide prevention.


As part of the PHA we work with HSCB colleagues to improve the range and quality of services for people of all ages with learning disabilities, leading on the implementation of the directly enhanced service for people with learning disabilities across Northern Ireland. We also represent nursing and the PHA in the development of a service framework for people with a learning disability.


We have led the regional review on the use of special observation across adult psychiatric inpatient beds. This work has been taken forward in conjunction with HSCB and HSCT colleagues and draft regional guidelines on the use of observation and therapeutic engagement in adult psychiatric inpatient facilities in Northern Ireland have been produced and sent out for consultation. Once finalised and approved, this guidance will be implemented across Northern Ireland.

We provide lead nurse expertise on the Review of Mental Health and Learning Disability SAI audits carried out after serious adverse incidents (SAI).

We represent the PHA on the Criminal Justice Project Board, taking forward the implementation of the Criminal Justice Inspection report Not a marginal issue.pdf.