Introducing an Acute Mental Health Liaison Service

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A number of teams have been brought together to form the The Acute Mental Health Liaison Service

When individuals with mental health needs go to the emergency department for help, it is important that mental health expertise is available to them. An Acute Mental Health Liaison Service launched in November 2020. We invested in bringing together existing teams, who now work as one team in the emergency department and on hospital wards. This support service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to people of working age presenting with a mental health problem.

The Mental Health Triage Team, Frail Older Persons’ Advice and Liaison Service, Liaison Psychiatry, and Psycho-oncology (psychology service for people with cancer) had previously worked in isolation from Glenfield Hospital, meaning some services were duplicated. 

The improved service is based at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Proposals would also see support for older adults from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week, and for service users' families and carers.

The team would provide a one-hour response time in the emergency department, 24-hour ward-based support for patients in the Leicester Royal Infirmary, and a 48-hour ward-based service for people in Glenfield Hospital and Leicester General. This would reduce the time spent in hospital and the number of people being re-admitted.

The team includes liaison psychiatrists working at the interface between physical and mental health. They would provide a specialist mental health assessment and treatment for people with a range of problems, and offer up to four sessions in the community.

Clinicians at University Hospitals of Leicester (UHL) and the Acute Mental Health Liaison Service would all use a single electronic system, which would speed up assessments.

Service users receiving care from the Liaison Psychiatry and Psycho-oncology Teams in a community setting would be reviewed and alternative support provided if needed. Those who would have previously been referred to these teams would instead be offered a wider range of support through the Improving Access to Psychological Therapy Service (IAPT), community mental health services or wider provision, depending on their needs. This is expected to increase the range of support and allow it to be delivered locally.

Case study: Stephen

Stephen is 45 and lives in Hinckley.  He cares for his elderly mum and has a history of anxiety and depression and is known to mental health services. He was recently admitted to hospital with acute kidney injury, due to dehydration.