A specialist team from Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) which assesses and treats people with mental health issues when they attend an acute hospital will be able to offer faster help to more patients when the service expands this winter.
NSFT’s Mental Health Liaison Service, based at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH), will more than double in size after it was awarded an additional £485,000 during 2017/18 following a successful bid to NHS England.
From April 2018 onwards, the service will be funded by NHS Norwich, NHS South Norfolk and NHS North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), which will together provide £1.5m annually.
The additional money will be spent recruiting an additional 21 members of staff, including consultant psychiatrists and mental health practitioners, who will join the existing 13-strong team who already provide 24-hour cover across the hospital. This will enable the team to manage increasing demand while also responding to referrals from the Emergency Department (ED) within one hour, in line with national guidance.
The expanded team will begin working across the hospital in January. They will assess and risk manage patients with mental health issues, as well as referring onwards to other NSFT services and those provided by partner organisations.
They will also work closely with Mind Norwich, who will contact people after discharge to provide follow-up within a few days of admission to the ED.
Micki Munro, Operational Locality Manager at NSFT, said: “This additional funding has allowed us to work with the NNUH to develop a more robust service for people with mental health issues who arrive at the hospital for treatment, as well as reaching more patients every year. It will also allow us to respond more promptly so that those in the greatest need can receive help as early as possible.
“We are also excited by the fact that NNUH has agreed to jointly fund with us a matron post for the team, which will enable the service to function better across the hospital while increasing support for NNUH staff who are caring for patients with mental health issues.
“The service at the hospital has been well-regarded for some time, and provides patients with safe, high quality and responsive care. This investment will allow us to build on those strong foundations still further while benefitting even more patients.”
Clive Rennie, Assistant Director Integrated Commissioning (Mental Health and Learning Disabilities) with Norfolk’s CCGs, said: “The development of this extensive service will ensure people presenting with mental health and coexisting physical health issues can be seen more quickly, whether that be in the ED or on the inpatient wards at NNUH.
“Our aim is to ensure patients are assessed and treated within a short time period before they are discharged to the community with the appropriate support in place to continue their recovery.”
NSFT is now recruiting to this service. To see a full list of our vacancies and for more information, please visit www.nsft.uk/mentalhealthliaison
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