STRONGER health links have been forged between the public and private sector in South Tyneside to help people suffering from stress and depression.
Gedanken, a counselling and coaching company, is building on an innovative partnership with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust.
The relationship has already seen the firm bring its practices and thinking to the trust’s activities across Boldon, Whitburn, South Shields and Jarrow.
Now the company is adding innovative new measures to not only improve the service, but also boost client engagement.
Gedanken, which is run by managing director David Cliff, a trainer, manager and therapist, provides out-of-hours counselling to groups and individuals, offering help with anxiety, bereavement, depression, anger, stress and other issues.
Since the contract was extended this summer, Gedanken has increased the number of clinics provided.
By introducing business thinking to the process, Gedanken has driven a significant improvement in turnout at the sessions through greater engagement with those on the waiting list, delivering enhanced value to the service.
Measures introduced to increase engagement include a YouTube video to outline what can be expected from anger management support, greater provision of information through GPs’ surgeries and other public service outlets, improved information to help clients access the out-of-hours service and a scheme aimed at preparing clients for their first experiences, to cut missed appointments.
David Cliff, managing director of the Houghton-le-Spring-based company, said: “The extension of this contract earlier this year reflects the excellent relationship we have built with South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, and our ability to deliver sensitive and value-for-money services.
“The addition of these new measures has really allowed us to make changes which are improving the impact of the service, by reaching more people, saving money for our client.
“The success of our work with the trust illustrates the benefits which can be achieved by an organisation which has already been proactive in working with the NHS.
“As a smaller, privately owned company, the way we work must be driven by efficiency, and we have injected that into the work we do for the trust, bringing excellent results.”
David Hambleton, director of commissioning development at South Tyneside PCT, said: “The Gedanken service works in a true collaboration with our local trust and demonstrates what can be achieved in a true public-private partnership with a company with a strong sense of social responsibility.
“Patients have responded very positively.”