Transformation funding reduces mental health waiting times: Mental Health Awareness Week 2022

Date: 11 May 2022

The Mental Health Liaison Team at North Middlesex University Hospital

The Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust’s (BEH) Mental Health Liaison Service located at both Barnet and North Middlesex University Hospital (NMUH) hospitals provide support for people attending A&E, or on an acute ward, who need mental health support.

There have been challenges in meeting the national waiting times standards to review a patient within 1 hour following referral from A&E in recent years. Achievement has been impacted by delays in recruitment and continued high number of patients attending NMUH A&E department. Using transformation funding in 2021/22 the service has been able to recruit more clinical staff to both the teams at Barnet Hospital and NMUH.  

In addition, NMUH developed a joint enhanced streaming process with the A&E team using quality improvement (QI) methodology enabling a combined physical and mental health review to determine the immediate needs for the person and swiftly agree a plan for referral, support and treatment. 

The Barnet hospital team also implemented key checkpoints within the pathway to support reducing the time for review of all patients. Further work is in progress using QI methodology.  Since November 2021, this focused work has resulted in patients at both hospitals being seen quicker. 

Dr Justin Shute (Consultant Psychiatrist at NMUH and Clinical Lead for Liaison Psychiatry for BEH) said:  

“Transformation funding has allowed us to employ extra nurses so we can now offer patients who require it, the opportunity to be seen by an Emergency Department Nurse and Mental Health Nurse at the same time and together they will do a joint triage. What that means is the patient will be seen much quicker and they don’t have to repeat their story to different people.”  

Murray Keith (Director of Transformation at BEH) said:  

“The Mental Health Liaison Team has done a great job reducing waiting times and I’m particularly pleased to be highlighting their success during Mental Health Awareness Week.”  

  • Summary:

    The Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust’s (BEH) Mental Health Liaison Service located at both Barnet and North Middlesex University Hospital (NMUH) hospitals provide support for people attending A&E, or on an acute ward, who need mental health support.