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Funding for a new facility at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust to support mental health patients

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust is to receive part of a £15 million government fund to support patients experiencing mental health crises.

Last week, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that University Hospitals Plymouth had been successful in a bid for capital funding, in order to build a new facility for mental health patients.

The £301,000 award will fund both the provision of a bespoke waiting area for patients experiencing a mental health crisis, as well as two Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network (PLAN) compliant mental health assessment rooms. The facility will be co-located to the Emergency Department at Derriford Hospital.

“At the moment, the mental health assessment waiting area for medically fit, ambulatory patients is within the Clinical Decisions Unit, part of the Emergency Department,” explains Kevin Baber, Chief Operating Officer for University Hospitals Plymouth. “This area is shared by patients awaiting diagnostic results, discharge or transfer arrangements. Understandably, both patients and staff have raised concerns, as sharing this facility can elevate patients’ distress.

“Providing a separate, dedicated waiting area will enable the needs of people in mental health crisis to be met much more appropriately and sensitively. We hope it will provide a safe, private and calming environment, which will support the delivery of care.”

The proposed facility will address parity of esteem issues highlighted by the Crisis Care Concordat, where people with mental health issues expressed feeling disadvantaged in comparison to those with physical health issues.

In addition, increasing the number of mental health assessment rooms available will improve the time patients experiencing mental health crisis need to wait for their assessment.

“As the demand for urgent mental health assessments increases, so does the requirement for additional space to deliver this service,” adds Kevin. “With the additional rooms, the Liaison Psychiatry team will be able to see more than one patient simultaneously. Response times will be improved and so will patient safety.

“Through establishing this facility, and working with Livewell Southwest, Devon Partnership Trust, NEW Devon CCG and others, we hope to deliver a more integrated service for our patients.”

It is hoped that the new facility will be in place in Spring 2019.

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