AN employment service which supports people living with mental health difficulties has been described as ‘truly excellent.’

The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) service, which helps people with severe mental health problems find and retain employment, has been certified as a UK Centre of Excellence.

The service is provided by Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust.

Paul Wilcox, employment services coordinator for mental health, community assessment and recovery services, said: “We’re proud to have upheld our status as a UK Centre of Excellence and I am honoured that we can provide this service to the population of Worcestershire. This is a brilliant result, clearly a reflection of the hard work of the IPS team and our colleagues within the Trust.”

Following a recent review by the charity Centre for Mental Health, IPS services in Worcestershire have been identified as ‘exemplary’ across a range of quality indicators.

Representatives from the UK Centre of Excellence gave the employment service a score of 118 out of a potential 125 marks, describing it as ‘a truly excellent service,’ ‘driven and client focused’ and recognised its passion in ‘providing the best service to the client.’

Worcestershire’s employment service is one of only 18 Individual Placement and Support services to have been accredited as a UK Centres of Excellence.

Recent figures suggest that at least 74 percent of clients accessing services in Worcestershire have successfully returned to employment for a period of three months or more.

The IPS employment service is internationally recognised as the most effective and efficient way of helping people with severe and enduring mental illness into competitive paid work.

For the service user, the benefits of being in employment include an income and a greater sense of purpose and wellbeing.

While for the health system, there is an overall reduction in the use of mental health services, leading to improved efficiency.