WORCESTERSHIRE'S health trust is set to lead the country in the digital delivery of mental health services over the next few years.

A new report, Next Steps on the NHS, sets out how health services are set to meet the priorities of patients and the public across the West Midlands.

And, according to the report, Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust has been named a Global Digital Exemplar for Mental Health.

"They are one of the most digitally advanced mental health trusts in the NHS and they have committed to work to become a world class exemplar for the rest of the NHS to learn from," says the report.

The report has been cautiously welcomed by the chairman of Worcestershire Healthwatch, Peter Pinfield, but he also stresses the need for more public involvement in health planning.

He said: "At least we seem to be having a grown-up conversation on what our health services might look like in the future. [NHS England chief executive] Simon Stevens should be given credit for his original five-year forward plans, his constant warnings to government that the system was under extreme pressure and the very dangerous predicament we have created by cutting back on social care and public health.

"My main concern is that the voice of patients, cares and service users is often lost in the debate and certainly when it comes to involving and meaningfully engaging us, we are still wanting.

"This is still the only game in town but its pace and direction needs real focus and involvement. Do things with us, not to us and you might be very surprised how far you can get in implementing that change agenda that Simon Stevens has put his personal and professional credibility on."

The plan will focus NHS efforts on key patient priorities, with a radical upgrade to cancer care expected to save an extra 5,000 lives a year, new specialist mental health services, enhanced access to family doctors and primary care services, and a raft of measures to ease pressure on accident and emergency units.

Alison Tonge, director of commissioning and operations for NHS West Midlands, said: “Today’s announcement sets out how services will be improved for patients across the West Midlands over the next two years, whether it’s better access to family doctors and urgent care options, or mental health services for new mothers.

“We’ll be working closely with local health and care leaders and frontline staff as they now work in partnership to deliver on the priorities that patients and members of the public have told us matter most to them.”