Working for Ieso: An ex-mental health commissioner's perspective
Just over twenty years ago I finished my degree and started my first job in the National Health Service. As a committed, enthusiastic university graduate, I was looking forward to being part of a service that could provide free help to those who needed it. I started out working at a District Health Authority in a supportive administrative role. However as a young graduate impatient to grow a career in the service I wanted to gain some operational experience work closely with patients “on the ground.” After all it was a ‘health’ service and I felt passionate about making a difference within the NHS.
After working my way up the career ladder, I became co-responsible for the development and roll out of a regional Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. I was subsequently appointed as a mental health commissioning manager with a newly established Clinical Commissioning Group in June 2013.
However, towards the end of last year I made an important decision. Some could even say it was a foolhardy decision. Without telling my family in advance, I decided to resign from my position. I had my reasons; chiefly I didn’t feel I was personally making a real difference, and while I regularly met with service users and worked with well-intentioned and hardworking teams, there was a feeling that I had lost my spark in the role. In short, I needed a change.
Fast forward to the present and less than five months later I am now working with Ieso Digital Health, a service based in primary care that delivers on-line Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. This is one of the same services I had commissioned as part of the IAPT programme when I was working at the CCG no less.
Working for Ieso Digital Health, our focus is the same. As a service provider, we are expected to deliver NICE recommended therapies and work to achieve the same NHS England targets / outcomes as the CCGs.
There’s a strong sense that what we do, makes a real difference. Not just to those with anxiety and depression who use our service, but also among my colleagues. With the Ieso team it feels as though there is a genuine sense of teamwork and a feeling that we have a positive influence on others in need. This impacts on our own feeling of well-being as well.
What first attracted me to the role, was the use of technology and innovation the therapy service employs. It’s an exciting service. Because therapy is delivered online, we are able to provide a flexible treatment that is genuinely available to those in need at a time and place that suits their needs, rather than when the commissioner or another provider dictates. Because it’s also free to the patient, it restores my original enthusiasm for why I wanted in a career in the NHS in the first place. And for me, that’s good enough.
James De Pury
Consultant for Ieso Digital Health