Thousands more people who go to a major A and E experiencing mental health crisis are now able to access specialist care quickly with progress set to be accelerated as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.
The fourth national Survey of Liaison Psychiatry Services has confirmed that:
• Every consultant-led 24-hour accident and emergency department in England now has a specialist psychiatric liaison service to treat patients with mental health needs.
• More than 60% of those teams are now on duty 24/7, compared to around 40% in 2016, with nearly all remaining services reporting extended operating hours.
This is further proof that the NHS is already delivering on its pledge to improve care and offer comprehensive mental health support to patients. The Long Term Plan will see sustained investment and improvement in services for years to come.
With psychiatric liaison services now in every hospital, the ambition is for half of those to operate at what is known as ‘Core24’ level – with the right number of skilled staff to be able to provide rapid response at any time of day or night - by March 2021.
Andrew Stephenson, MP for Pendle, said: “Many families across our country know first-hand that emergencies aren’t just heart attacks, stroke and other physical problems, but mental health emergencies too.
"Liaison aims to bridge the gap between physical and mental healthcare, often when people need support the most, while at the same time relieving significant pressure on other front-line services."
A and E doesn’t need to be the first port of call for someone with urgent mental health needs, with community crisis teams available in every area, accessible through the free NHS 111 phone and online service.
However, many people do go to A and E in times of crisis, in many cases with physical injuries or conditions linked to their mental health which also require treatment.