9 months on: physical health advice for mental health inpatients

Published: 9th February 2021
South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) launched a physical health advice pilot in June 2020, providing physical health advice for inpatient wards. We take a look at the project nine months on.
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In June 2020 we launched the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM)  physical health advice pilot. The aim of the project – to improve support for physical health issues in mental health inpatient settings – is achieved by enabling SLaM clinicians to receive immediate Advice & Guidance from physical health consultants at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

We spoke to the Project Manager at SLaM, Elliann Fairbairn and she explained the need for the pilot, when it started back in June 2020:

“We worked with Consultant Connect to roll out their platform to inpatient wards at South London and Maudsley NHS Trust because many of our patients have multiple complex physical health conditions on top of their mental ill health. This means our clinicians need to be able to support diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease (among other conditions) as well as supporting patients’ mental health. Connecting our clinicians to specialists in the acute hospitals means they can get quick advice and, potentially, avoid a hospital admission. This is important because acute hospital are difficult settings to manage patients in mental health crisis but, as we head into our second wave of COVID, it could put them at an increased infection risk.”


9 months since the project launched*… 

  • Since the launch in June 2020, over 300 calls have been placed achieving a referral avoidance rate of 56%.
  • Additionally, 41% of the calls resulted in a referral being made, ensuring patients received the correct care the first time.

*Data correct as of February 2021.


Raymond McGrath, Lead Nurse at SLaM enjoys using Telephone Advice & Guidance to discuss mental health patient’s physical health needs, he explains:

“SLaM clinicians have described Consultant Connect to me as ‘fantastic!’. People living with Serious Mental Illnesses experience a significantly reduced life-expectancy complicated by, and as a result of, their physical health co-morbidities. Consultant Connect helps SLaM clinicians to improve our efforts of redressing that imbalance by, providing quick and easy access to Consultant experts; we can seize the opportunities we spend with people, to help them access care and treatment they might otherwise miss out on or be delayed in receiving. Making every contact count is so important and, we hope to expand the service to our community services soon because it has been so useful for our inpatient colleagues.”



If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please email: hello@consultantconnect.org.uk or call us: 01865 261 467.

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