Standguide and Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, Exemplary Logo.pngCheshire’s Individual Placement and Support Service (IPS) has been categorised as ‘exemplary’ following a recent review - the highest scoring service in the country.

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is an evidence-based employment service to help people with severe mental health difficulties get into employment.

The initiative is run by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) in partnership with Standguide, a national organisation who provide employment related services, focusing on improving wellbeing, training and supporting people with health-related challenges. The service sits within NHS services and can be accessed through specialist community mental health nurses and other professionals.

Louise Jordan, NHS IPS operations manager, said: “IPS involves intensive, individual support, a rapid job search followed by placement in paid employment, and unlimited in-work support for both the employee and the employer. Employment specialists work in direct partnership with clinicians to ensure full support is given to every person wanting to achieve paid employment and vocational goals.

“I’m so proud of the team in the way that they have adapted their way of working through the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond to suit the needs of the service and people that need our support. Both CWP and Standguide are part of the new Cheshire and Wirral Community Wellbeing Alliance which is a new partnership to support people with severe mental illness in a more holistic way.

People tell us that they want mental health services that go beyond symptoms and illnesses, that see the person and not the diagnosis. Paid employment is fundamental to lots of people’s recovery and we’re delighted that working together has helped more people achieve their employment goals.”

Despite being one of the smallest of 70 IPS services within England, the IPS partnership between CWP and Standguide has achieved the highest Fidelity score ever recorded by an IPS service in the country with 119 out of the 125 maximum points. The team has also been awarded the ‘Quality Mark’ as a mark of recognition.

Kay Burns, Cheshire IPS team leader said, “It’s clear that the excellent levels of frequency and quality of employer engagement and relationship development has resulted in a high rate of job outcomes and the overall improvement of the service. One patient exclaimed ‘The IPS service is the best mental health treatment I have ever received; I couldn’t believe it existed’ and another praised the support of their employment specialist (ES) ‘My ES helped me to identify a list of things I could recognise when having a bad day and helped me plan for what I could do to help myself’. The positive feedback we’ve received during the delivery of service really supports our Fidelity score.

“The clinical teams we work alongside have shown full support for the IPS service and has embedded it into their recovery support for all those wanting to achieve paid employment. This partnership has added to success.”