7 October 2022

We had originally intended to publish the AHSN Network’s independent review into the systems and processes that led to the adoption of SIM as a national programme during September, to coincide with the anticipated publication of NHS England’s report on SIM. This has not yet been published. We will publish the Network review, and our response to the findings, once the final NHS England report is available, so our executive can consider the findings in the context of the overall review and the independent author is able to align and reflect the NHS England review in the final recommendations. 

5 August 2022

Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) was a model of care intended to support people with mental health issues already in regular contact with police and health services. It was designed to help coordinate care through collaboration between mental health teams and the police. The aim was to focus support on the small number of people who are frequently detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act and offer a more appropriate response to this group of vulnerable service users. 

The AHSN Network was commissioned by NHS England to support the spread and adoption of the SIM model between April 2018 and March 2020, as one of its first national programmes. This support mainly involved providing funding for training to trusts and police forces interested in adopting SIM. 

Although national AHSN involvement in the model ended in 2020, during 2021 we became aware of concerns raised about SIM, which led NHS England to undertake a review of the SIM model, as well as other examples of police involvement in mental health services across England. 

Alongside this, the AHSN Network commissioned its own independent review which sought to understand the AHSNs’ own internal processes that led to SIM being adopted as a programme, and to understand what could be learned from the process. The effectiveness, patient experience or safety of the SIM model were outside the scope of this review. 

The AHSN Network’s review, and its response to the review findings, will be published on this website during September 2022. 

In 2021, the AHSN Network received a number of questions under the Freedom of Information Act and our responses to these were published on our website in July and September 2021. 

18 June 2021

Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) is a model of care intended to support people with mental health issues who come into contact with police and health services frequently and is designed to help plan and co-ordinate their care. This is a complex and challenging area of mental health care. 

We are aware of concerns being voiced about the model, which have emerged in recent months. We take all concerns from service users seriously; as a result, we have committed to undertake an independent review to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the AHSN Network role in supporting providers to adopt the model. 

SIM was established to facilitate a collaborative approach between the police and community mental health teams – with the aim of supporting a very small group of people with complex mental health needs, where the police are often already involved. The model was aimed at supporting some of the most vulnerable in society, who, when in crisis, have many touchpoints with services across a system, but often experience fragmented and siloed care. 

The AHSN Network became involved when SIM was already being rolled out by the NHS in parts of the country (NHS Right Care commissioned the national spread of SIM from November 2017 through to October 2018). SIM started as a pilot on the Isle of Wight and began to attract interest from around the country, as positive outcomes were emerging. 

The national AHSN Network was subsequently commissioned by NHS England to support the High Intensity Network with the spread and adoption of Serenity Integrated Mentoring (SIM) between April 2018 and March 2020. AHSN Network involvement, which was always planned to be a two-year programme of support, involved providing funding for training in trusts and police forces interested in adopting the model. The AHSN Network national programme ended in March 2020. 

We welcome NHS England’s ask of trust medical directors and directors of nursing to review services for high intensity users so a full picture can be obtained. We will feed information from our own review into this process, to enable NHS England to establish the full facts. 

  • Ten principles of health equity for innovators

    “Health equity is the attainment of the highest level of health for ALL people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and social determinants of health — and to eliminate disparities in health and health care.” (health.gov) Within the NHS there [...]

  • Collaborating to improve access and equity of care for sickle cell sufferers

    Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a serious and lifelong health condition. People with SCD produce unusually shaped red blood cells that can cause problems because they do not live as long as healthy blood cells and can block blood vessels. This can result in suffers experiencing painful episodes, called sickle cell crises, as well as anaemia, [...]

  • Until tackling health inequalities becomes business as usual, innovation is our best chance of equity

    At the Royal Society of Medicine’s Tackling Inequalities conference it was clear from the passion in the room that great progress has been made across the system to better support some of our most under-served communities. To maintain this momentum, we must not just embed tackling health and healthcare inequalities in all that we do, [...]