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NEWS


Major new investment round to speed product innovation


Oxford VR, a spin-out company from the University of Oxford, has raised £3.2 million with investors including Oxford Sciences Innovation, the University of Oxford, Force Over Mass, RT Capital, and GT Healthcare Capital Partners.


The company says this ‘new investment round’ will help it bring ‘automated, immersive, clinically validated’ Virtual Reality (VR) technologies to market as ‘user-centered treatments for patients with mental health problems’.


Oxford VR’s first product, an automated VR treatment for height phobia, was tested last year in a large randomised controlled trial, with the results ‘gaining global acclaim’ when published in Lancet Psychiatry. The treatment is now being used in selected NHS clinics. While the company’s first treatment is for a phobia, it plans to tackle ‘the full range of psychological problems’.


CEO, Barnaby Perks, explained: “I am delighted to lead a company that will transform mental health for millions by combining state-of-the-art immersive technology with world-class science from the University of Oxford. Professor Daniel Freeman’s research, combined with the advent of highly immersive consumer VR,


Robust system addresses breakage


A medium secure facility in Wickford operated by Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust which had seen its ward entrance doors damaged by repeated attacks has worked with Safehinge Primera to address the problem. Following the attacks at Brockfield


means Oxford VR can develop treatments that are faster and more effective than traditional treatments, significantly cheaper to deploy, and – crucially – engaging and entertaining for users.”


Professor Daniel Freeman, chief Clinical Officer of Oxford VR, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Oxford, and Consultant Clinical Psychologist, Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, led the Fear of Heights study published in Lancet Psychiatry. He explained: “Instead of a real-life therapist, we used a computer- generated avatar to guide users through a cognitive treatment programme. Everyone in the VR group saw their fear of heights diminish, with an average reduction of 68%, and half the participants seeing a reduction in fear of over three quarters.”


Static Systems hosts CPD visit from DiMHN committee members


Static Systems Group recently welcomed committee members from the Design in Mental Health Network (DiMHN) to its Staffordshire headquarters, where the DiMHN committee combined a CPD visit with a board meeting.


The main aims of the visit – co-hosted by Static Systems Group and Guardian Staff Safety Systems – were to establish collaborative working opportunities, and to highlight the latest attack alarm, fire, and call system product developments. Committee members were shown around Static Systems’ Design & Innovation Centre and Concept Ward, finding out about the outcomes of the collaborative working that the company and a number of suppliers have been undertaking in the year since its launch. Jenny Gill, the DiMHN’s chair, said: “We recognise the value of getting out and about to meet our members, so have introduced a series of CPD visits which coincide with our board meetings. The visit to Static Systems’ headquarters


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House, the Trust regularly faced ironmongery fixing point damage, with locks and closers breaking out of the door and timber frame. Staff were replacing broken doors and frames every six months, and even changing the doors to single-swing with overhead connecting arm closers did not prevent regular damage.


To address the problem, the Trust worked with Safehinge Primera to install a robust metal door frame, pivot hinge system, and concealed door closer, with the addition of a carefully selected electronic locking system. Staff are now reassured by more reliable locking, and are able to control access to the ward. The same doors continue to withstand repeated attacks over three years on, with ‘no known issues’. Safehinge Primera added: “In mental health environments, it’s important to get secure ward entry doors right. Often a lesser priority than patient bedroom or bathroom doors, ward entry doors don’t always get the consideration they require.”


NHS Long Term Plan


proved really interesting, and was a great opportunity to see how Static Systems and Guardian are considering innovative ways of using technology to provide real benefits for both staff and mental health service-users. We’d like to thank the Static Systems and Guardian teams for organising this informative visit.” Static Systems’ Design & Innovation Centre is available as a venue for industry workshops and seminars. Pictured, left to right, are DiMHN Committee Members Jonathan Campbell, Alex Caruso, Jenny Gill, Philip Ross, Cath Lake, Paula Reavey, and Clive Stone.


The Department of Health and Social Care has published the full details of the NHS Long Term Plan, which include a promise to spend at least £2.3 billion more a year on mental healthcare over the next five years, ‘expanding support for perinatal mental health conditions, increasing funding for children and young people’s mental health, helping 380,000 more people get therapy for depression and anxiety by 2023/24, and delivering community-based physical and mental care for 370,000 people with severe mental illness a year by the same date’. Launched on 7 January, the plan is ‘designed to help the NHS improve the quality of patient care and health outcomes’. It sets out how the £20.5 billion budget settlement for the NHS announced by the Prime Minister last summer will be spent over the next five years.


JANUARY 2019 | THE NETWORK


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