Improving access to mental health liaison services

Acute Care | Secondary Care

Why?

The Mental Health Liaison Team at the Royal United Hospital in Bath surveyed staff and found that although 84% of respondents were likely to refer to the service, they expressed a lack of confidence about the types of presentations that warranted referral and were unfamiliar with the working hours of the team. The survey also identified a need to improve communication with referrers during the initial referral to assessment period.

Who and where?

The Mental Health Liaison Team at the Royal United Hospital in Bath is provided by Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust.

The project was conducted by Alister Gomes-Pinto, Ruta Kuzminskyte, Katie Wooding, Katherine Asplin and Liz Ewins of Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust. 

What?

The team set out to improve awareness and timeliness of referrals from acute hospital staff through simple interventions including a newsletter, an email to staff and attending ward rounds on the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) of the hospital.

How?

The project team used a series of PDSA cycles.

 PDSA cycles 1 and 2 involved publishing an article in the hospital newsletter and sending an email to staff detailing contacts, hours of working, and referral criteria.  

PDSA cycle 3 involved attending ward rounds on the MAU. Laminated pocket cue cards setting out the online referral process, working hours and contact details of the liaison team were handed out.

For each of the three PDSA cycles, quantitative data was collected on speed of referral completion and ease of locating the referral form on the hospital computer system. Qualitative data on staff satisfaction was collected before and after each cycle.

Our success

There was a significant improvement in overall staff satisfaction with the referral pathway, appropriateness of referrals and working hours of the liaison team - increasing from 14% to 100%. The referral process was improved, with the percentage of junior doctors successfully able to locate the referral form increasing from 60% to 100%.

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