QA Hospital to get 24/7 mental health team in bid to slash emergency department referral times

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HOSPITALS in Hampshire will receive a boost of ‘several million pounds’ in a bid to cut the waiting time for people who need mental health support to an hour.

It comes after Southern Health teamed up with Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust and two more NHS bodies to secure national funding for more services across four county hospitals. 

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham

Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, is among them. 

A psychiatric team benefiting from new specialist staff will work at the hospital 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help rapidly see adults who have been referred by the emergency department. 

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Health bosses say the plan will mean less time in hospital and will ‘significantly improve’ the quality of holistic care. 

Southern Health’s chief medical officer, Dr Karl Marlowe, said: ‘Additional specialist staff will mean that patients in A&E and on wards won’t have to wait as long for a mental health assessment.’ 

He added: ‘The strengthened teams will also be able to develop care plans and organise appropriate follow up, post discharge, in a more timely way.

‘As well as offering an improved service to patients, the bolstered teams will also be able to provide advice and training to other professionals in the acute hospitals, about the management of patients’ mental health problems.’ 

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In addition, Southern Health has also secured a further £1.1million to invest in community-based crisis mental health services.

It worked with commissioners across Portsmouth and Hampshire, as well as the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Solent NHS Trust, and  charities including Solent Mind, Havant Mind and Two Saints on the Isle of Wight to get the money.

The funding will see greater investment in peer support workers who have experienced mental health problems themselves, as well as nurses and medical staff in community teams. 

Jenny Erwin, director of commissioning for mental health at Southern Health, said she was 'delighted' with the cash boost. 

It is hoped the services can provide the people who need them with an alternative to hospital admission.