GPs in NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Health Board have been able to call the Mental Health Assessment Units (MHAUs), via Consultant Connect, for rapid prof to prof clinical decisions for over a year.
We caught up with Gillian Reilly, Specialist Mental Health Services Manager in Greater Glasgow & Clyde to find out more…
When did you set up MHAUs in Greater Glasgow & Clyde, and why?
“The MHAUs were set up two years ago as a direct response to the pandemic. We have four Emergency Departments (ED) in Glasgow, and we needed to ensure that people presenting to ED with mental health issues could be redirected to the most appropriate environment to help reduce the footfall in the EDs due to COVID-19.
During the first year of the MHAUs, referrals were accepted from ED, Police Scotland, Scottish Ambulance Service, the out-of-hours GP services, NHS 24, mental health hub, and NHS 24.”
How does it work, and what are the benefits?
“As an example, if the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS) or Police Scotland are attending a patient’s home and need advice about the patient’s mental health issues, they can contact the MHAUs to discuss and agree a plan for the MHAU either to attend the patient’s home or SAS/Police Scotland can bring the patient directly to the MHAU for a mental health assessment rather than attending the ED which was the pathway pre COVID-19. The benefits of the new pathway assists in the patient being seen by the right service at the right time without delays and offers a quieter environment to assess the patients as opposed to a busy ED. The MHAU also offers a reduction in waiting times for access to mental health assessment for professionals referring into the service such as Police Scotland, ED and SAS.
For patients who present directly to the EDs, ED staff can assess and contact the MHAU, who will coordinate transport of the patient directly to the MHAU if safe to do so or alternatively the MHAU can attend the ED to assess the patient.”
How did Consultant Connect fit in?
“Once the MHAUs were running for just over a year we looked at our day time GP services who also refer for same day emergency mental health assessment.
We have 243 GP surgeries across Greater Glasgow & Clyde and we now offer same day emergency mental health assessment via Consultant Connect. GPs can call via the Consultant Connect App or telephone direct to the MHAUs which is answered by a senior nurse within the MHAU. This provides the GPs with a rapid response and removes stages such as going through switchboard or waiting on busy telephone lines which ultimately improves response time for patients in access care.
The MHAU line has answered over 1,500 calls from GPs in the last year via Consultant Connect. Last month, 100% of calls from GPs were responded to first time, meaning that every single GP got straight through to a senior nurse and 100% of those patients were navigated to the correct setting, first time.”
What are the benefits to GPs?
“GPs no longer have to navigate through multiple numbers, switchboards, teams etc. to get the advice they need for their patients. We now provide one point of access for GPs 24/7 for access for emergency mental health assessment and Consultant Connect offers a direct connection to an experienced mental health nurse for advice and or referral into MHAU and who can then coordinate and signpost the patient to the care and follow up they require.”
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