Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust have launched a new mental health service that can be accessed via telephone, 24 hours a day and seven days a week.
A team of Call Handlers and Mental Health Practitioners will run a call centre based at the Avondale Unit, Royal Preston Hospital, where they will take calls and manage referrals for patients, service users, families, and carers, with the aim of connecting the right patient to the right professional at the right time.
The team can arrange for patients to receive support directly over the phone or for a Mental Health Practitioner to see them at home, their local GP practice or another mutually agreed location. Information about other services can also be shared with callers, if more appropriate.
This new approach will significantly improve access to mental health services for more than 140,000 residents across Central and West Lancashire. The initiative forms part of a wider programme to transform access to mental health services throughout the health system, up and down the country.
Caroline Donovan, Chief Executive at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a major improvement for the residents of Central and West Lancashire who need to access help and support from our mental health services.
“This new Freephone number means people will be able to access practical advice and emotional support from qualified nursing staff and where appropriate, access to the right services in a more timely way. This approach will mean we are better able to meet the varied needs of anyone trying to access mental health support.
“Whether it be an immediate response, routine appointment booking or even advice on how to access additional information, people will be able to call one phone number and receive the response they need.”
The Trust worked with GPs, MPs, representatives from the voluntary sector, and other key stakeholders across the wider health system to develop this new approach, in order to ensure it met the standards and needs of patients and service users.
If you are a resident in Central and West Lancashire and want to use the new mental health service, call 0800 013 0708.
More NHE coverage on all things mental health is available here.