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Project Fusion

Bringing together community, mental health and learning disability services

Across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, community, mental health and learning disability services are provided by several organisations working closely together: Solent NHS Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, Isle of Wight NHS Trust and Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust as well as a range of other NHS, local authority, and voluntary and independent sector organisations. Making sure that people have the same access to services and experience the same outcomes is important and a key priority of our local NHS.

Over the coming years, the number of people using community and mental health services will increase. NHS trusts who provide physical and mental health services are already responding to growing need, both in terms of the number of people being referred for care and the complexity of issues they present with.

A big priority for our local NHS is on continuing to improve and transform services, as well as having an even greater focus on bringing mental and physical health services together to support people to live healthier, longer lives.

Independent review of community and mental health services in Hampshire and Isle of Wight

In January 2022, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Integrated Care System commissioned an independent review of community, mental health and learning disability services. The review aimed to provide an overview of current and future needs of local people relating to community and mental health services. It was the first step in understanding the strengths and weaknesses of existing services, identifying any gaps and areas for improvement. The review looked carefully at the evidence and involved a range of health professionals, partners, and stakeholders, as well as existing insight and feedback from people who use local community, mental health and learning disability services.


Findings from the review confirmed that people do not have the same access to or receive the same health and care services and that there are differences in patient experience and outcomes, revealing a compelling case for change across Hampshire and Isle of Wight to make sure health services meet the needs of our population.

View a full copy of the review.


The recommendations from the review:

  • The review resulted in the following five recommendations:
  1. A new Trust should be created for all community, mental health and learning disability services across Hampshire and Isle of Wight, with local divisions to focus on our communities. All existing NHS Trusts in the area are being involved in and are coordinating this work with the Integrated Care Board and identifying a plan for developing this work further taking into account any issues that it presents and looking at ways to overcome those.
  1. A review of community beds for those with physical health challenges should be undertaken, in a partnership between community, acute (hospital) and primary care service providers (e.g., doctors, dentists, midwives, community nurses) and local authorities. This is required to ensure the highest possible levels of patient safety, quality and experience are in place and that patients are receiving care in the most appropriate setting for their needs.
  1. Develop a clinical plan for community, mental health and learning disability services that focuses on preventing ill health, supporting people early in the process when they do become unwell, and care focused around the patient. This will be led by those who provide our community, mental health and learning disability services with input from service users and key partners, such as primary care and local authorities.
  1. A clear plan across our health and care system for the leadership of local services in each area is needed. This will help to identify how we can join up health and care services locally with other key services affecting health such as education.
  1. Establishing a long-term plan for the funding for community and mental health services to make sure people in each area have the same level of support. The plan needs to identify where some areas of have higher levels of investment historically and how they have performed as a result and how the overall money available can be used more fairly and equally.

One of the review’s key recommendations is that a new organisation be formed, to bring together all NHS community, mental health and learning disability services provided in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.  This has been given a working title Project Fusion.

The case for change

The review says that bringing together services in this way would improve consistency of care. It would also help to ensure that people have the same access to care no matter where they live in the area. Patients, their families, and communities would benefit by the organisations working even more closely together.

The recommendation is aligned with, and builds upon, the steps the organisations are already taking to work in partnership. It will further allow health staff to work more closely together to best meet the needs of the people they support.

Local services will continue to be delivered close to home; the recommendation is about improving the way services work together.

What have we done so far and what are the next steps?

We have prepared a summary document for our Trust Boards, for the Integrated Care Board and for NHS England that sets out a clear rationale for creating a new Trust and that plan (called a strategic outline case) has been submitted to NHS England for their approval.

We now need to continue the work to add all the detail to that plan to identify how the organisation will work, its future plan, what resources it needs and what we need to have ready by Day 1 and beyond. We need to have this ready by October 2023.

We have put systems in place within our individual organisations and to join those all together to ensure the right people are coming together to develop the plan.

We also want to engage with people who use our services, their families, communities, our staff, and partners to help us develop this plan.

How can I keep in touch with this project as it develops?

We will continue to keep people informed about how the plan to develop the new organisation is progressing.  We will do this by providing information:

  • On our individual websites
  • Directly to people who work for and with the four organisations e.g., our staff and partners
  • Face-to-face in our conversations with community groups
  • Via the local media when there is news to announce or events happening in which people can get involved
  • Other communications where appropriate e.g., posters advertising events, local newsletters, and social media.

How can I get involved?

We are actively looking to hold community conversations about Project Fusion and to capture people’s knowledge, experience, hopes and concerns to help inform the development of our detailed plan.  As we develop our plan, we may also have specific questions about individual services that we want to discuss with you.

Throughout this process we will make sure we reach a broad mix of people across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight including those groups of people who are seldom heard to capture your thoughts and feedback.

If you are part of a community group or organisation, please invite us to come and talk to you and listen to your views. Contact us at

Or if you have a question or want to share your views directly with us you can also use the same email address to contact us.

More information

You can also find more information including some frequently asked questions and answers on our Isle of Wight Health and Care Plan website

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Tell Us Your Views

Please feedback to us about your experiences, along with how to raise any concerns, complaints or questions.