Primary care liaison service

What is a primary care liaison service?

The AWP Primary Care Liaison Service (PCLS) teams are the main integrated referral points into adult secondary mental health services based within Bristol, Swindon, Wiltshire, North Somerset, Bath & North East Somerset and South Gloucestershire (Bristol service differs in line with local commissioning arrangements).

The teams provide mental health support, brief interventions, advice and signposting for; service users and potential users of AWP mental health services, their carers and relatives, GPs, Health and Social Care and third sector.

Who are we?

We have multi-disciplinary staffing in the primary care liaison teams: community psychiatric nurses, social workers, clinical psychologists, occupational therapists and consultant psychiatrists. This means that PCLS Teams are able to provide appropriate and wide ranging responses, according to individual needs.

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

The PCLS teams will:

  • Act as point of access into local secondary adult mental health services, from 8am-6pm Monday to Friday (outside of these hours all urgent/emergency referrals will be triaged by Crisis/Intensive teams).
  • Receive and triage referrals from GPs, Health and Social Care Professionals and the third sector, Service users and Carers.
  • Comprehensively triage all calls and referrals.
  • Provide advice, support and signposting to Primary Care referrers and self- referrals as appropriate, following triage.
  • Provide face to face assessment if required,  ensuring that service users are only transferred to secondary mental health services where there is an assessed need for that service.
  • Have clear timeframes for assessment, working to the agreed referral deadlines of very urgent (4 hours) urgent (72 hours) and routine (28 days).
  • Liaise with local community mental health teams to ensure a smooth transfer for those service users who are assessed as requiring a standard package of secondary care.
  • Be accessible to people who need to contact the service.
  • Be knowledgeable about the local services it is providing information about.
  • Give appropriate advice in a professional and courteous manner.
  • Be non-discriminatory in its approach and aware of the diversity of people that it is providing a service to.
  • Acknowledge the caller's perspective, dealing with their enquiry, problem or crisis on their terms as much as possible.
  • Ensure that practitioners do not make promises that they or AWP cannot deliver on.

Work closely with the relevant local authority to provide as seamless a health and social care service as possible.

How do you access the service?

The service receives referrals from GP's, Social Care, Emergency Services and other Healthcare Professionals. Referrals are received via email referral and/or telephone.

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.

Self or carer referral is also an option.

What is the care pathway?

Upon receiving a referral, the team review the referral to assess the urgency for triage. The urgency will have been determined based on the triage outcome of 4 hours, 24 hours, 72 hours, or up to 4 weeks from the original date of referral using the UK Mental Health Triage Scale.

A brief telephone mental health based triage assessment is undertaken by a registered mental health professional to determine the urgency of the problem and the most appropriate service response.

At the end of the triage process the practitioner will discuss the planned outcome with the service user including any details of onward referral for assessment or signposting, advice and support.

When a face to face assessment is indicated, the urgency is based on the outcome of the triage. If assessment is not for a Crisis or immediate response, the referral for assessment will be transferred to the assessment function of the service.

Opening hours

The Triage function operates 8am to 6pm, Monday - Friday (except Bank Holidays). Urgent Referrals will continue to be taken out of hours by the Intensive Service Team.

Bristol Triage service operates from 8am-10pm.

The face to face assessment function operates 9am to 5pm, Monday-Friday.

Primary care liaison services

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