Improving crisis care with a single point of access

Primary Care | Secondary Care | Support Services


Professionals in Hertfordshire believed a simpler way of accessing mental health and learning disability services was needed. The existing system was associated with variation in quality of response, duplication of effort and increased the risk of service users falling between the gaps. They also wanted to provide a clearer system for referrers and develop an overview of demand and activity levels.

Who and where?

The Single Point of Access is provided by Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust. The service links with other mental health services, including those provided by Hertfordshire County Council, Hertfordshire Urgent Care and voluntary sector organisations.


The Trust created a new centralised team to act as a single point of access for all mental health and learning disability referrals. The service accepts routine or urgent referrals from GPs and service users, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It is run by specialist mental health staff, including senior clinicians, who provide advice and guidance through a triage process.


The Trust conducted an audit of referral related activity and then developed a business case for the change. The model was piloted in four trial sites before rolling it out across Hertfordshire.

Our success

Access to services is more timely for service users and savings of £500k were achieved.

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