Between 2006 and 2012 I worked as Lead Consultant Clinical Psychologist in the first episode psychosis (FEP) service in Lancashire. During my time there I led the design and implementation of the model of psychological care within the service.

We applied to a national competition and our service was selected as one of two centres of excellence in England to demonstrate and share their innovative practice and to share data with the department of health. This learning and the data collected during this 3-year programme contributed to the business case that led to the announcement of an additional 40m annual investment in improving the quality of care and access to psychological therapies for people experiencing a first episode of psychosis.

Norman Lamb requested a visit to the FEP service in Accrington, East Lancashire and spent time with service users, their families and staff. The visit was a powerful and moving experience for those who were present. Hearing from families and their loved ones about the workers in the team had worked with them, as partners, to achieve their recovery goals was humbling.

It was a proud day for the team and it was clear that what they do each and every day makes a huge difference to people’s lives. The Minister was left in no doubt that early intervention in psychosis was an area that made a huge difference to the lives of many families and with the data delivered from the demonstration site, he was armed with a compelling narrative to take back to parliament.

The momentum continued, with the implementation of a national 2-week referral to treatment target for all FEP services nationally. The Lancashire FEP service even went on to be cited in the foreword of the NHS Mandate in 2012 as a beacon of good practice.

Good times and fond memories.