A new mental health helpline has helped save millions of pounds for a Peterborough health trust – and direct patients to get the help they need in a more efficient way.
The Trust delivers many of the NHS services that are provided outside of hospital and in the community, such as physical and mental health, and specialist services including disability and substance misuse - which means it has complex communications requirements in order to keep at least ten separate services connected, for both staff and patients.
CPFT had recognised that inefficient systems were leading to bottlenecks, meaning patients were not able to access the right services easily, and costing money through unnecessary admissions to A+E.
A new phone system was designed to make the process much easier and was introduced eight months ago – and it already has made a major difference.
Cambridge and Peterborough Sustainability and Transformation Partnership Mental Health Clinical Lead Dr Emma Tiffin said: “By selecting a “mental health help” option using the current 111 system, the person experiencing mental health crisis can be directed to the right team for assessment, onward treatment or advice.”
Number of overdoses falls by 16 per cent since system was introduced
The results have been profound, crucially leading to huge reductions in A&E admissions over the winter period
Since the system, nearly 10,000 people called and the effect on A&E admissions was startling:
97 per cent of calls to the 111 option 2 number did not need A&E
26 per cent fewer people overall needed to be taken to A&E by ambulance
25 per cent fewer people needed A&E for mental health problems
19 per cent reduction in overall A&E mental health admissions was seen.
There has been a 16 per cent reduction in the number of overdoses and estimates show the scheme could have saved the local health and care system up to £4.7m.
“Ensuring that people are accessing the right service at the right time is key to reducing costs, duplication and confusion"
Dr Tiffin, added: “Ensuring that people are accessing the right service at the right time is key to reducing costs, duplication and confusion. Above all that, it means that patients will have a better experience of care and better outcomes first time.”
The area now has two sanctuaries with outreach facilities for rural areas which provide a safe space for people in crisis available all year round from 6pm-1am.
Caroline Meiser-Stedman, FRS Consultant Psychiatrist said: “Recently we had a call from a gentleman, who had never accessed mental health services before, but was worried about his wife. After speaking to 111 option2 staff, who calmed the situation down, they arranged an urgent face-to-face assessment.
“A couple of hours later a psychiatrist and a member of the crisis home treatment team visited their home. After some time talking to her, she agreed to come to the ward. If she had gone directly to A&E she would’ve almost certainly become very unsettled and left or it would have led to her being restrained under the Mental Health Act.”