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Crisis care and the reduction of risk

Across our partnership we have all of the recognised components of an urgent care system, but these do not always operate consistently. Whilst we continue to work towards a crisis care model and seamless pathway which works for everyone in the West Midlands – including standardised crisis assessment, staff skill mixes and competencies – we have developed a series of tools to help mental health professionals provide a more consistent service.

MERIT Bed Finder

Each year, pressure on beds has forced hundreds of mental health inpatients from the West Midlands to be accommodated many miles from home. Closer collaboration between neighbouring mental health trusts is cutting such placements, allowing patients to stay closer to the family, friends or other support networks which are often crucial to successful discharge and recovery.

When an inpatient admission is required but no suitable bed is available in the patient’s home trust, bed managers at the partner trusts can now view the status of beds at each other’s organisations. The trusts have agreed to give first call on vacant beds to each other’s patients. Weekly conference calls between bed managers have strengthened working relationships and have already allowed several patients to be accommodated nearer to home, without recourse to placements outside the West Midlands.

The MERIT Bed Finder allows bed managers to view the status of inpatient beds at each other’s trusts.

MERIT Electronic Health Record Viewer

In January 2018 we launched the MERIT Electronic Health Record Viewer (EHRV). When clinicians see and treat patients who live in the area covered by another of the trusts in the partnership, for example after transfer via the Bed Finder system, they can access crucial information from the patient’s mental health record.

Authorised professionals can see information relating to demographics, next of kin, diagnoses and care plans, giving them an understanding of the patient’s needs without having to ask difficult questions at what may be a distressing or disorienting time. Ours is the first mental health collaboration in England to share patient information of this nature across trust boundaries, and is governed by robust information sharing agreements and a detailed Memorandum of Understanding.

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