A mental health specialist from Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust (LPT) has been awarded a prestigious Fellowship in recognition of his work with homeless people in Leicester.

Phil Johnson, senior mental health practitioner with LPT’s award-winning specialist Homeless Mental Health Service (HMHS) has been made an honorary Fellow of the national Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health. He was nominated for the award by his colleagues, and was chosen from a pool of exemplary health and social care workers from across the UK.

The Faculty of Homeless and Inclusion Health is an inclusive membership organisation for people involved in health care for excluded groups. It aims to improve the quality of health for homeless and other excluded people and its membership includes nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, social workers and public health experts.

The Fellowship was in recognition of his long-term contribution to improving health care for homeless people. There are currently more than a thousand members in the Faculty for Homeless and Inclusion Health. Membership is free and open to anyone working with inclusion health patients or research.

Dr Nigel Hewett OBE, who heads up the faculty, said: “Phil is clearly very passionate about working in the field of mental health, having led the dedicated Leicester Homeless Mental Health service at Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust for the last 15 years, as well as playing a pivotal role in the design and establishment of the multi-agency one stop shop for people who are homeless in Leicester.
“His long-term contributions to improving health care for homeless people are so very appreciated. He is extremely deserving of this fellowship, and I’m sure he will continue to thrive and succeed in expanding the service into the county of Leicestershire.”

Phil and his colleagues provide mental health assessment, referral to mainstream treatment services and short-term support to around 400 new service users who are presenting to the service as homeless every year.

They provide ‘drop-in’ sessions, Monday to Friday, 9am to noon, at the Dawn Centre ‘one-stop shop’, where homeless people can self-refer. The team also provides street outreach and hostel visits to support people who require assertive engagement. They work in close partnership with Inclusion Healthcare homeless GP service, Leicester City Council Housing department, and homeless shelters and hostels to ensure individuals have prompt access to support their mental health needs.

Phil commented: “It came as a big surprise to me to receive recognition from colleagues and peers but if it helps to improve services for homeless people I am delighted. I love this work and the challenge it presents and couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”

The multi-disciplinary team includes three mental health practitioners, a clinical psychologist, and a newly recruited recovery support worker. Clinics are also provided by a psychiatrist and junior doctor.
The service has been cited nationally as a model for best practice and was a winner in the 2008 national Health & Social Care Awards for Mental Health & Wellbeing.

The team can be contacted at their base on 0116 295 8442 for anyone wishing to refer.