CWP pioneering new mental health triage tool

by CWP News - 18 December 2018

Local NHS Trust CWP has become one of the first providers of mental health services nationally to launch the National Record Locator Service – a new tool to ensure a more joined-up health and care system.

The National Record Locator Service – led nationally by NHS Digital and now launched locally by Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (CWP) in partnership with North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) - gives ambulance personnel immediate access to the right mental health services in real-time when supporting a person suffering with a mental health crisis.

The service is being launched across Cheshire through the first phase of NHS Digital’s roll-out of the tool, coinciding with a launch from five other mental health trusts nationally.

Previously, ambulance responders would not know whether a person experiencing mental health crisis accesses mental services or has a mental health crisis plan. Now, with direct access to this information, they will be able to contact these services immediately, enabling them to make informed decisions about people in crises.

It will help them to make decisions that will deliver the right care at the right time patients to the most appropriate care setting to meet their needs.

Dr Adrian Burke, CWP Consultant Psychiatrist and clinical lead for the National Record Locator Service, said: “This development is a landmark in improving the experiences of people known to mental health services when they are in a crisis. The initiative is aimed to improve the access to appropriate care, support and treatment at the point of contact. The next stage of this project is to enable the sharing of information through retrieval of a Mental Health Crisis Plan to inform decision making by the responding team.”

The National Record Locator Service rollout aims not only improve patient safety and mental health outcomes, but to reduce duplicate care costs (within A&E and mental health services) and improve staff safety.

It is being supported locally by technical partner Graphnet, supplier of the Cheshire Care Record – a mechanism already improving access to patient health and social care information across multiple providers.

Yvonne Cutler, Clinical Records & Electronic Care System Manager at NWAS, said: “The implementation of NRLS is a positive move towards the sharing of patient information. It will assist our clinicians to give a vulnerable group of patients access to information that will ensure they receive the most appropriate care as quickly as possible. It can be very frustrating for our clinicians trying to find contact details and NRLS is a very welcome step forward, it will save time but most importantly assist in giving patients the treatment they deserve.”

Dr Gareth Thomas, who leads the Integrating Care Programme at NHS Digital, said: “The record locator represents a fantastic opportunity for health and social care information to be available at the fingertips of frontline health and care staff, wherever they happen to be.

“The service will integrate information right across the sector and will allow organisations to collaborate more closely. Direct access to records at the point of care delivery will bring huge benefit for patients, front line teams, and the wider NHS. It is a brilliant example of new technology meeting the demands of a modern and forward-thinking NHS.”

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