Primary care liaison service

What is a primary care liaison service?

Our primary care mental health liaison service is a short-term support service to help people with mental health difficulties to move forward and get on with their lives.

Who are we?

Our primary care liaison nurses operate alongside family doctors; they are specialist and experienced mental health practitioners who have the knowledge and skills to decide if someone will benefit from short-term involvement with their team.

Our nurses deliver direct patient assessment as well as managing referrals. They operate alongside GPs and other primary care staff to plan treatment and care. They help people to find the best service to meet their needs by offering:

  • Advice on books, leaflets and websites that will help people to help themselves
  • Referral to other groups, as appropriate, or access to other mental health teams
  • Advice and support to primary care professionals.

The service operates from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm Monday to Friday and Saturday mornings.

How do you access the service?

We only receive referrals from GPs and other health or social care professionals. All non-urgent mental health referrals come through us both by phone and in writing.

If you have concerns about your own mental health you should first contact your GP, who should have immediate access to your health records. Following this consultation, your GP may decide to refer you to primary care liaison.

When someone is referred to one of our teams, we will aim to see the person within four weeks. The speed with which we respond depends on how much the person's health is at risk. When we see someone, we will talk with them to find out their needs. Once we have done this, we can decide whether we can support them or whether they are more suited to one of the Trust's other specialist teams. If we feel another team in the Trust is better able to support the person's needs, we can help them get in touch with this team.

We have a wide range of staff in the primary care liaison team: community psychiatric nurses, social workers, graduate workers, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists and consultant psychiatrists. This means that we stand a better chance of being able to give someone the support they need.

We can also offer advice and guidance about mental health to GPs.

What you can expect?

  • A dedicated and responsive service that will build closer links between AWP and its primary care partners
  • One local point of contact for referrers
  • Quick and accessible advice on all aspects of mental health to those aged 18+
  • Advice and support to primary care staff to manage mental health issues
  • Engagement by specialist AWP staff with the right patient at the right place
  • Rapid and prioritised access to mental health expertise within local primary care services
  • Rapid and prioritised specialist mental health assessment for primary care referrals (for example from GPs, health visitors)
  • On-going advice, support, education and training for primary care staff including case discussions and seminars
  • Early recovery so as to support people as much as possible within mainstream care
  • Seamless transfer of people into specialist and secondary mental health treatment according to need.

Our aim is to work with our primary care colleagues and partners to deliver long term improvements in communications and services and to create opportunities for clinicians to work together for better patient care.

Primary care liaison services

BSL Video

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