New 24-hour mental health service for hospital patients

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Patients with mental health problems will get round-the-clock access to specialist care if they are admitted for treatment at a Yorkshire hospital.

Two NHS trusts are working in partnership to provide the service to patients at Rotherham’s hospital with a new liaison service.

Rotherham Doncaster and South Humber NHS Foundation Trust (RDaSH) and The Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust have introduced the service as part of a two-year pilot to provide assessment, treatment and management of mental health problems in adults aged over 18 admitted to the hospital.

Debbie Smith, RDaSH service director for mental health services, said: “Physical illness can increase the risk of mental health problems, and some physical symptoms may be the result of underlying psychological conditions.

“This highlights the importance of a joint approach to provide prompt and effective access to expert mental health care.”

The liaison team consists of psychiatrists and mental health nurses based at the hospital.

They will assist hospital staff in A&E and other general wards to provide one-­stop emergency specialist support to patients in crisis.

The team will also provide in­-depth mental health and risk assessments, including signposting and access to wider mental health services.

The aim of the project is to improve the health of patients by giving them the right treatment and care sooner and in the most appropriate setting, which will potentially reduce their length of stay and likelihood of re­admission.

Tracey McErlain­-Burns, the hospital’s chief nurse, said: “Getting the right diagnosis is really important and treating mental ill health alongside physical illness is very important.

“Having the mental health hospital liaison team on site, working in partnership with our clinicians and patients will transform care and provides a great opportunity to enhance the skills of our team. This is good news for the people of Rotherham.”