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20.04.16

Mental health training videos for 111 call handlers piloted

A new mental health training package for NHS 111 call handlers is being tested with three pilot NHS providers.

The ‘Focus on Mental Health’ module was developed by NHS Arden & Greater East Midlands (GEM) Commissioning Support Unit (CSU) and is being tested with IC24, Yorkshire Ambulance Service and Herts Urgent Care and is due to be introduced across all providers by summer 2016.

The module features video interviews with mental health patients and NHS 111 call handlers and covers issues including building a rapport with callers, showing empathy and handling callers who are at risk of self-harm or suicidal thoughts, and is designed to allow call handlers to pick and choose chapters when they have the time.

Jeff O’Connell, National 111 design manager at NHS England, said: “NHS 111 call handlers receive calls from people with mental health problems on a daily basis, which often involve a complex range of issues such as physical, emotional, family and social difficulties.

“We wanted to offer an engaging e-learning resource to staff to enhance existing training, so that they are have the specific skills to deal with calls in the most sensitive and effective way. We’ve enjoyed working with the Arden & GEM team and have had very positive feedback on the resource so far.”

Last year health minister Ben Gummer warned of “extremely worrying” staff shortages and lack of medical knowledge among NHS 111 workers.

The provision for mental health patients in the NHS as a whole was also extensively criticised in a recent Mental Health Taskforce

The latest edition of NHE features an interview with Paul Farmer, chair of the taskforce and chief executive of Mind, about the expected reforms in mental health.

Last year NHE also interviewed John Parkes, managing director of NHS Arden GEM CSU.

(Image c. David Cheskin from PA Wire/ Press Association Images)

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