Mental health pilot launches in Cambridge

New services to help those who are experiencing a mental health crisis have been launched in Cambridge.

Mental health pilot launches in Cambridge
08 April 2016

New services to help those who are experiencing a mental health crisis have been launched in Cambridge.

The initiatives are aimed at improving the support available for people out-of-hours and at weekends. Patients will also get more choice in where and how they receive support.

Without access to a round-the-clock mental health crisis service, people often have to attend their local A&E department. This is not always the best place for people requiring mental health support – and puts more strain on A&E teams.

Now commissioners, NHS organisations, police and representatives from the voluntary sector have put in place a range of new services.

They include:
A First Response Service - run by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT) it will provide assessments in the community out-of-hours and respond to urgent referrals from emergency services and NHS111.

The Sanctuary - a safe place in the community, hosted by mental health charity Mind, offering short-term practical and emotional support between 6pm and 1am.

Mental health professionals in the police control room to provide advice and referral options to police.

A system-wide co-ordinator to triage people to the First Response Service and Sanctuary and co-ordinate calls from emergency services.

The pilot is part of the Urgent and Emergency Care Vanguard programme, which is funded nationally to test out new ways of providing emergency care to improve patient experience and reduce the pressures on A&E. The funding is non-recurrent but if the pilot is successful it could lead to the new services being commissioned longer term and across the county. The services began operating in Cambridge on Monday, 4 April.

Dr Caroline Meiser-Stedman, Consultant at CPFT said: “We are really excited to launch these new services.

“We want to make life much easier for people with mental health challenges locally to ensure their care is the best we can possibly provide. We also want them to have more choice in where and how they receive support.

“In putting in place these new initiatives we have spoken to many patients and heard their experiences of out-of-hours care.

“Accident and emergency departments or police cells are often not the right places for people to be if they are undergoing a mental health crisis.

“We believe this is the first step in changing that, and giving people the support they really need.

“If this is successful, and we believe it will be, we will be leading the way in improving the care of those will mental ill health.”

Lynn Mars, Director of Services for Mind in Cambridgeshire, added: “This exciting, innovative service will change the face of crisis care across Cambridge, ensuring that individuals receive the right care, at the right time, in the right place.”

For more information on the Mental Health Vanguard programme please click here.

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust
Elizabeth House, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge, CB21 5EF

T 01223 219400 (open 8:30am to 5pm)
F 01480 398501

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