A psychiatric liaison team celebrates achieving national accreditation for the first time.
The Gateshead Psychiatric Liaison Team has been accredited by the Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network (PLAN), an award from the Royal College of Psychiatrists which recognises teams who meet the highest quality standards.
Part of Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (CNTW), the team specialise in the treatment and assessment of adults aged 16-65 with mental health needs admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead.
The service is available 24/7 to support ward teams with patients who have a comorbid mental disorder and provide support on complex decisions around mental capacity.
The team had to go through a rigorous process which included a three-month self-review against the standards and a peer review. They had to gather evidence which looked at all aspects of the service, from service provision and structure to staff training and support for families and carers.
Their initial review was scheduled to take place in March 2020 but was postponed due to the pandemic and the team became one of the first to have their accreditation reviewed virtually.
Sue Buchanan, Associate Nurse Director at CNTW, said; “This is the first time the team has been accredited. It’s unusual for a team to gain accreditation the first time of applying, which is a real testament to the team’s hard work.”
Michael Simm, Gateshead Psychiatric Liaison Team Manager, added: “In a time that has been really challenging for so many of us, this has been a real morale boost for the team.”
As part of the assessment, colleagues from the acute trust, service users and carers were asked to give feedback.
Colleagues described the team as supportive, with one saying: “I find every team member approachable and professional. If a member of my family needed any mental health assessment, I know my loved ones would be well looked after.”
“They made a very difficult time in my life more manageable and bearable.”
“The staff were great and understanding. I often feel shame and embarrassment coming into these situations but there was no judgement at all.”
“I felt empowered to make decisions about my life.”
The accreditation, which lasts for three years, is designed to provide a clear and comprehensive description of best practice in liaison psychiatry services.
CNTW is a leading provider of mental health and disability services in the North East and north Cumbria.