The standard of care given to people experiencing a mental health crisis in Salford has been commended by NHS watchdog, the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The care provided was found to be ‘positive’ and ‘supportive’ by the CQC, with joined-up, accessible services, compassionate care and short waiting times for treatment being highlighted as successes, in a report published today.
The CQC have been carrying out inspections across England to find out the current status of mental health crisis care. Today’s report assessed services available through different providers including Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW), Salford Royal Hospital and Greater Manchester Police (GMP) – supported by Salford Clinical Commissioning Group - within the area of Salford City Council.
During a mental health crisis, people may attend a busy accident and emergency department of a large hospital and the CQC found that in Salford, all hospital-based staff were ‘knowledgeable and sensitive’ to people in crisis. Hospital and mental health staff worked together in agreeing the most appropriate treatment response, with the least restrictive option being chosen. Whether it was a referral to home-based treatment or a Mental Health Act assessment, it was found that people were not kept waiting during their crisis.
The CQC commended the GMW-led reconfiguration of services in Salford which provides 24/7 mental health crisis care including a helpline, a mental health liaison team within accident and emergency and home-based treatment teams along with extended working hours to evening and weekends of community teams; all of which have contributed to the full provision of round-the-clock access for people in crisis.
Communication between agencies was found to be effective as was the interaction between GPs and GMW’s community mental health teams, with GPs often calling the teams to discuss concerns. Joint training between accident and emergency staff, mental health staff and the police supported a greater understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities and has resulted in a positive working relationship.
Bev Humphrey, Chief Executive of GMW said; “We are delighted with today’s CQC findings as we have worked very hard to make sure we could provide as much care and support as possible to those experiencing a mental health crisis. There has been a lot of national scrutiny recently about people who are in crisis being kept in police cells and not able to access the care and support they need but here in Salford we have led the way; working jointly with GMP, and our mental health staff have made it a priority to support police officers who are dealing with people in crisis and provide them with training to reach better outcomes in crisis situations.
“We have also worked hard to support Salford Royal’s accident and emergency department as we know a lot of people in mental health crisis attend there or are brought there by the police. As one of the busiest hospitals in North West, our mental health staff have a permanent presence at the accident and emergency department to help people get the right treatment at the right time. This also means that hospital staff are freed up to attend to the more general accident and emergencies which present there.
“We have worked hard to make sure that services are accessible, responsive and safe and that communication between agencies and other health professionals is effective; because if these are not in place from the start, things can go wrong in times of crisis. We are glad to have this independently assessed and confirmed that these services are well-led.
“It is also heartening to know that the caring component from frontline staff is evident too, which we know matters so much to our service users. Compassion and friendliness can make all the difference to someone who is struggling and can often get overlooked when departments are busy and demand for services is high. I would like to thank everyone who works in these services across Salford for their dedication to helping people in their time of need and we are so proud that the CQC has noted their hard work and commitment.”