Who are we?
The Mental Health Integrated Access Partnership (IAP) is an award-winning and nationally-recognised endeavour, which is transforming urgent and emergency care services for people in mental health crisis.
In an innovative collaboration between BrisDoc Healthcare Services, Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership Foundation Trust and South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust – as well as Avon and Somerset Police, Avon Fire and Rescue, and voluntary sector organisations – the IAP provides a truly integrated front door service for urgent and emergency mental health care for people in crisis, across both 999 and 111.
What we do
The IAP comprises a multidisciplinary team of registered and non-registered professionals, who work in rotation across our services, providing both remote and face-to-face mental health triage, assessment and care for patients, as well as clinical support and advice to emergency service professionals. We work tirelessly to get each patient the right care at the right time, providing a seamless, coordinated response that addresses both mental and physical health needs.
Working alongside emergency service, urgent care and voluntary sector colleagues, the IAP provides a range of 24/7 services within the South West, from our sites across Bristol and South Gloucestershire.
The early impact of the IAP has been clear, both in benefits for patients and organisations alike. The full integration of this service means people only need to tell their story once before accessing both mental and physical health services, which is particularly important for people living with multiple health conditions and supports reducing delays to receiving care.
In 2022, the IAP enabled 1,700 ambulances to be stood down from dispatch to individuals in mental health crisis and, by providing alternative and more appropriate support, only two people with mental health needs were directed to A&E through the NHS 111 Mental Health Clinical Assessment Service. This had a direct result of improving the ability of the system to better respond to at a time of significant pressure.
We are proud of our culture of wellbeing and personal and professional success, which enables our people to provide the best care and service for our patients.
The IAP continues to grow and evolve. Later in 2023, we will begin to deploy mental health ambulances throughout the South West. This will help to ensure that patients receiving emergency mental health care at scene, do so with privacy and dignity, and can be safely and efficiently transported if necessary.
2024 will see the implementation of NHS 111’s ‘Select Mental Health’ option, which will see our MH CAS become a 24/7 service, as anybody experiencing mental health crisis will be able to phone 111 to receive mental health support directly, without needing to undergo a physical health pathways assessment.
To support people with unmet needs who access services more than usual, the IAP’s High-Intensity User Project is exploring how best to support these patients and provide a collaborative framework of support.
Awards and recognition
The early impact of the IAP, underpinned by its courageous and pioneering approach to respond to mental health emergencies, has been recognised through nomination for a number of national and parliamentary awards, and has been presented as a model of good practice by NHS England.