Bringing together all the essential support and resources needed into a “single point of access”, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust have launched a new online mental health platform for children and young people.
The new ‘one-stop shop’ for mental health will serve children and young people in Liverpool and Sefton and has already been rolled out across 13 organisations and three Integrated Care Systems so far.
By providing users with just a single form which connects to a range of mental health services in the local community – the first time mental health services have been integrated this way in the UK – the platform replaces a referral process that users previously described as “long, complicated and difficult to navigate”.
During the developmental stage of this project, Alder Hey’s innovation department worked closely in tandem with children and young people, their parents and families, service users, and mental health professionals to ensure the platform made mental health more accessible and more effective for those in the community.
The platform’s referral system has been tailor-made to allow users to take control of their own health by giving them access to the service at will – furthering the innovation’s user experience is a consistent digital referral form as well as a unique identification code which gives users the ability to track their own progress and take greater ownership of their own care.
Emma Hughes, Deputy Director of Innovation, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “As a trust, our vision is to build a healthier future for children and young people. By consolidating our mental health support onto one platform, with a single point of access, we are pleased to have been able to streamline access to our services and minimise the stress faced by children, young people and their families during a time of crisis.
“Throughout the COVID–19 pandemic, we have seen a rise in the number of young people accessing mental health services. Thankfully, we can now make better use of our resources, while improving the quality of support we provide through efficient referral processes, and access to apps, information and videos at the point of referral. We are now looking at ways of expanding our service offering across the entire pathway.”
Once made, referrals will be triaged within 24 hours via Alder Hey’s multi-disciplinary team, making sure that the children and young people of Liverpool and Sefton receive the right care, at the right time.
And even though there are currently two different electronic patient records in operation across the region, this new platform “intuitively” uploads referrals to the correct system and organisation – Alder Hey estimate that all this will free up more than 1,600 hours per year, whilst also reducing the potential for human error, and ultimately saving the organisations involved over £21,000.
Alder Hey are now in talks with a range of healthcare organisations looking to implement a similar approach, using this platform as a blueprint.