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Improving care for people in mental health crisis

MERIT will create a model of excellence in crisis care across the four partner trusts to promote quality improvement, consistency of practice and better collaborative working and produce a blueprint which can then be replicated elsewhere.

Prof George Tadros, Clinical Director for Urgent Care at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Lead for MERIT's Crisis Care work stream, said:

"Our approach is to ensure consistency in care for service users wherever they are in the West Midlands conurbation. To achieve this we will agree common care pathways, language and standards across our four trusts.

"When a service user experiences a mental health crisis, they or their carer will have access to an interactive website to show them where they can go for help. A simple click-and-find page will guide people to our urgent care services, building on nationally recognised crisis services already in place in the West Midlands such as Street Triage.

"An integrated patient record system across the four trusts will mean that wherever a service user is, regardless of which trust's area they come from, they will receive rapid help.

"And if they need to be admitted to an inpatient bed, a single bed management system will allow us to identify where bed capacity is available at any one time across all four trusts. This will involve agreed operational processes combined with an ICT system that will include visual electronic boards to provide 'at a glance' information. This means care closer to home as they will be less likely to be placed in a bed outside of our combined area, far from their families and carers."

"MERIT will also focus upon closer co-ordination of workforce management and training to create a broadly-skilled workforce across the patch which can respond quickly and flexibly to staffing issues at a local and regional level and reduce dependence upon agency staff, enabling greater consistency and continuity of care."

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