In Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington our Mental Health Assessment Teams provide compassionate, therapeutic, patient centred and specialist mental health assessment for adults age 18 and over who may require support and treatment from secondary mental health services.

Criteria

We accept referrals on routine, urgent and emergency clinical pathways, where there is a requirement for specialist mental health assessment:

  • Psychosis, bipolar, chronic or severe depression or anxiety where levels of risk and complexity require treatment by specialist mental health services
  • Severe personality disorder where there is a clear role for secondary services
  • Dual diagnosis of complex and severe mental illness and alcohol/substance misuse where mental illness is the primary need
  • Self-harm, harm to others, harm from others or serious self-neglect due to complex presentations associated with severe mental illness
  • Complex trauma where needs cannot be met by primary care psychological services
  • Perinatal mental health problems
  • Military veterans 


Choosing well for mental health - referrer guidance 

The choosing well for mental health referrer guidance is a visual tool that aims to support you in identifying the most appropriate route for mental health support and intervention for your patient. 

The tool provides a visual framework that shares the threshold for referral into specialist services, an overview of what these pathways are and what the expected clinical response is for the different pathways. 

Choosing well for mental health.png

Making a referral

Referrals for specialist mental health assessment can be made by GPs and other health and care professionals using the relevant referral form below: 


IMPORTANT: to prioritise patient safety, we are only able to accept referrals that meet service criteria.

Referrals will be returned if there is insufficient information to allow clinicians to be able to make an informed decision around the requirement for specialist assessment - for example, blank or incomplete referral forms.

Please use the referrer guidance above to help identify the most appropriate clinical pathway when making your referral. 

Following a referral

Following a referral, the Mental Health Assessment Team will strive to assess the patient (service user) in a holistic and bio-psychosocial style, understanding all health, psychological and social needs, in a timeframe in accordance with the referral pathway. See referrer guidance above.
 
The team will endeavour to complete an assessment, in collaboration with the patient (service user) family/carer of the patient's strengths, goals and existing support, whilst collaboratively assessing risk and formulating a safety management plan. 

Communication

Where possible, we will provide referrers with an update including information about which pathway the patient has been accepted onto as part of our assessment. Communication approaches may include electronic communication and telephone conversations dependent on priority level. 
 
If unfortunately the referral does not meet the criteria for acceptance, this will again be communicated back to referrers with recommended action to ensure the patient (service user) is able access the care most suited to their needs at the earliest opportunity.   

Why referral processes changed

In 2019, we carried out a review of our assessment teams including how patients were accessing the service. We wanted to improve the patient experience as well as patient safety. A big part of this work was to look at our referral processes to see where these could be improved and standardised.
 
Hear from Tim McPhee, Assistant Operational Director and Claire Bullen Foster, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Strategic Clinical Lead for Crisis:   

Stakeholder briefings

To outline the changes and why these have been made the following stakeholder briefings were shared with partners ahead of the implementation of the changes to the assessment team referral processes: