Blogs 17.03.2022

The Peterborough Exemplar: a protocol to evaluate a new patient-centred, joined-up community mental healthcare model in England

The Peterborough Exemplar is a new community mental health care model and one of the 12 Early Implementer sites funded by NHS England.

Community mental healthcare is based on the provision of care within the community, where individuals’ mental health and well-being can be supported by various professionals and service providers. Community mental healthcare has significantly grown since de-institutionalization. It gradually became an umbrella term referring to services ranging from early-intervention psychological therapies to treatment of complex needs and crisis support. Social care and third-sector organisations have been increasingly involved in the delivery of public mental healthcare provision.

Despite progress, service fragmentation and gaps in service provision remain key barriers to effective community mental healthcare in England. Recent policies highlighted the need to transform service provision by developing patient-centred, joined-up community mental healthcare. In response to policy guidance and local strategy priorities, a system-wide community mental health care model was developed in Peterborough (England).

What is the Peterborough Exemplar:

The Peterborough Exemplar is a new community mental health care model and one of the 12 Early Implementer sites funded by NHS England. Specifically:

The “Peterborough Exemplar” is based on two main pillars:

  1. the creation of knowledge exchange pathways to strengthen interorganisational relationships,
  2. the development of new community services addressing existing service gaps.

An evaluation has been developed to assess the impact and implementation of the Peterborough Exemplar and inform local and national stakeholders about good practices, lessons learned and areas of improvement.

The Peterborough Exemplar is a complex intervention developed by key stakeholders in mental health care to meet local mental health needs. The evaluation protocol of the Peterborough Exemplar provides an example of evaluating a community mental health care model and demonstrates the methods adopted to assess this complex intervention.

Dr Lida Efstathopoulou, Researcher in Residence

The evaluation is based on a quasi-experimental design comparing service provision in two geographical areas (i.e., Peterborough and Fenland). Qualitative interviewing is also conducted to explore perspectives of healthcare professionals in Peterborough about the Exemplar implementation.

What next:

We are currently collecting and analysing quantitative and qualitative data to evaluate the impact of the Peterborough Exemplar. We plan to share intermediate and final evaluation outcomes with local commissioners and the Exemplar partners, including the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), local authorities and third sector organisations. Evaluation outcomes will also be shared with NHS England and NHS Improvement to inform community mental healthcare and healthcare integration policies in England.

Find out more: