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Lambeth mental health services praised in national assessment

A Care Quality Commission (CQC) report out today (12 June) holds Lambeth’s mental health service up as an example of how to support people experiencing a mental health crisis.

The national report follows a review of mental health crisis care and support services in 12 areas across the country including Lambeth.

The report raises concerns nationally that crisis care is not available around the clock and that healthcare professionals, such as those in A&E, can appear to lack training in how to care for and speak to people who are having a crisis.

However, it names Lambeth as an area where services are supporting people in mental health crisis well, saying: “CQC found crisis care and support arrangements within the London borough of Lambeth to be particularly commendable; for example, inspectors noted the way that primary and social care services, voluntary organisations and housing advice services in the area worked together to provide appropriate support, referral and triage for people in need.”

Inspectors praised the joint commissioning of preventative services between Lambeth Clinical Commissioning Group and South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and its setting up of a ‘crisis house’ at Mosaic Clubhouse in Brixton, in response to the lack of available beds for people experiencing a crisis who needed inpatient care.

Dr Adrian McLachlan, Chair of NHS Lambeth CCG, said: “We’re very proud that Lambeth’s hard work to support people with mental health issues has been recognised in this report and held up as an example of good practice.

“It’s vital people experiencing a mental health crisis receive the support they need when they need it.

“We have been working closely with all our partners in the Lambeth Living Well Collaborative, local hospitals and the police to ensure people can access the support they need.

“We have commissioned a number of initiatives which are supporting people with mental health issues including peer support services in the community such as the Living Well Partnership hosted by Mosaic Clubhouse. We also have Solidarity in a Crisis - an out of hours peer support service run by Certitude.

“The Living Well Network Hub is the new front door to mental healthcare for people in the north of the borough and will be extended to the south of Lambeth at the end of June. We also have clear care pathways for patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis and attend A&E.

“A&E staff work closely with counsellors and local community mental health teams, and the mental health liaison team provides ongoing training and support for doctors and nurses as part of their induction.

“Lambeth also has a successful street triage team which works closely with the police and a 24 hour telephone advice line for police officers which enables a mental health nurse to offer advice tailored to individuals who are known to the service."

Cllr Jim Dickson, Lambeth council Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “We are working hard in Lambeth to provide the best services we can, and I welcome the CQC’s positive findings on examining the borough’s mental health crisis care and support arrangements.

“Our health partners are taking new approaches and working hard to best meet the pressing need of the community. The council is supporting this work, and we are also running a commission on improving mental health amongst Black and Minority Ethnic communities.

“Despite the CQC’s positive assessment, we remain on a journey – in partnership with residents - to reorganise services, focusing on keeping people well and improving accessibility for all communities so that we can start to reduce our rates of mental illness in Lambeth.”

Dr Matthew Patrick, Chief Executive South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are pleased to see that the CQC’s report recognises the positive collaborative work that is being achieved across Lambeth to improve care for patients in crisis.

“Working in this joined up way requires real commitment and an ability to focus on the bigger picture and what is right for our patients, not just our individual organisations. I would like to say thank you to all our local partners for working so closely with us. Having said that, we still have much improvement to make and must continue to work collaboratively in the future.

“The ultimate goal must of course be to keep people well and prevent them from reaching crisis in the first place. This is why we are working to provide support at an earlier stage in people’s difficulties. We are doing this by changing how we work and how people access our care. We are providing people with a ‘one stop shop’ place to go for assessment, treatment and support as part of the Lambeth Living Well Hub. For those who are in crisis, our dedicated psychiatric liaison teams treat patients who visit local A&E departments, and we also run a 24/7 support telephone line to provide police officers on the street with access to clinical advice.”

Dr McLachlan added: “Although pleased that our hard work is being recognised, we won’t rest on our laurels. There is always room for improving services and we will continue to work with patients to do so. One area we’re currently working on is to improve access to services from black and minority ethnic patients, and we will continue to strive to provide services which meet the needs of the whole population in Lambeth.”

The CQC has reviewed the quality of services in England to identify what is working well and what must improve, based on inspections of a sample of areas; a survey of around 1,800 people who have experienced a crisis; and on published evidence.

The CQC report Right here, right now is part of CQC’s commitment to the Mental Health Concordat. The full report and summary can be viewed here.