Bid to stop long waits for mental health patients in Forth Valley Royal’s A&E unit

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People experiencing mental health problems who come to the attention of police are getting quicker access to help and avoiding have to go to A&E.

The pre-hospital mental health triage service, which is run jointly between NHS Forth Valley and Police Scotland, is provided by senior mental health nurses who are able to direct people to the most appropriate 
service.

It is designed particularly to help people with a mental health disorder or where an individual has symptoms which require an urgent mental health assessment.

Since the service was put in place earlier this year more than 300 people have been able to access expert mental health treatment and advice without having to wait in Forth Valley Royal Hospital’s A&E for assessment.

Not only has it been beneficial for the patient, but it has also freed up hours of police time rather police officers having

to sit with people in A&E while they wait for assessments to be completed.

Police and health officials have welcomed the move.

Ross Cheape, service development manager for NHS Forth Valley’s mental health services, said: “This service has been carefully designed in close collaboration with Emergency Department and Police Scotland colleagues. This joint approach ensures that people are seen at the right place, by the right professional and maximises the opportunity to meet the individual needs of our

patients. This person centred approach is a really 
important part of our service and one that we are very proud of.”

Chief Superintendent Thom McLoughlin, Divisional Commander for Forth Valley said: “We know all too well, that many members of our community live with a range of mental health issues and are supported by our colleagues in the NHS. However, for a variety of reasons there are occasions where police assistance or intervention is required in order to protect those who are vulnerable or in need of help.

“Working closely with our colleagues at NHS Forth Valley, this new triage service has been implemented, not only ease pressure on NHS Forth Valley’s emergency department but also to ensure that those who need it get the very best possible care in times of crisis. In my experience, every occasion is different and often a tailored approach is needed in order to ensure the best possible outcome for all those involved. 
“Access to specialist support can help my officers to make informed decisions and ensure that the most appropriate care is provided.

“We remain committed to working alongside our key partners to provide the highest level of service to all members of our communities and will do everything in our power to protect those most vulnerable in their hour of need.”