NAViGO is a Community Interest Company which ‘spun out’ of the public sector and which delivers mental health services in the north east of England. It is a large, multi-million pound business with an employment and training arm called Tukes which provides opportunities to people with mental health problems and little or no previous training, qualifications or work experience. This in turn reduces demand on the mental health provision. NAViGO has thrived since becoming independent, winning awards and getting staff and community more engaged and involved in the governance of the organisation, succeeding in touch economic times.
The National Health Service (NHS) in the UK is under increasing pressure in difficult economic circumstances. While politically, the principle that services should remain free at the point of use remains sacrosanct, every year sees more reforms and greater pressures on the system to change. As commissioning and providing services has been divided into two functions, the question of provider form has come into focus – should providers remain part of the state, should they be driven by private interests or continue to be operated on a not-for-profit basis, even if they gain greater independence from the public sector?
Meanwhile in some parts of the country, such as Grimsby, the local community struggles with the symptoms of social and economic inequality, in an increasingly divided UK. Mental health, job insecurity and social exclusion feed a vicious circle which puts ever increasing demands on local services.
Mental health is a worrying problem in the UK. 1 in 4 people experience some kind of mental health problem every year and about 10% of children have a mental health problem at any one time. Depression affects 1 in 5 older people and self-harm rates in the U re one of the highest in Europe.