Norfolk Urgent and Emergency service for MENTAL HEALTH crisis

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Summary of report content

At the request of the NHS England East of England Urgent and Emergency Care Network, Healthwatch Norfolk researched the experience of getting help for mental health crises from the perspective of patients, their families and care providers. They heard from 686 service users. The work started in December 2016 and finished in May 2017.

They found that around 60% were able to plan ahead for times of crisis to some extent but 40% were not. Some people didn’t know who to contact if they experienced a crisis.

The report paints a very mixed picture of people’s experiences of services during a mental health crisis. The services that people were most likely to rate as “very good” or “quite good” are GPs (55%), community pharmacies (41%), ambulances and paramedics (34%) and A&E departments (31%). The services people were most likely to rate as “quite poor” or “very poor” are NHS community mental health services (41%) and GPs (24%).

Some people wanted a ‘fast-track’ into mental health services during a time of crisis. Whilst there is a local Crisis Resolution Home Treatment team, in practice this doesn’t work for everyone.  Whilst many people were getting help and support from services provided by community and voluntary organisations which they found valuable, they were worried that they might be a replacement for good quality NHS mental health care.

The report concludes that mental health crisis services are under-resourced and over-stretched, and this issue requires urgent attention. Crisis care plans are important and more people want to have one. Messages on who to contact and where to go in a crisis need to be clear and consistent. Some people and services are especially good at making mental health service users and carers feel safe, welcome and well-cared for and others could learn from them to improve their own services.

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General details

Report title 
Norfolk Urgent and Emergency service for MENTAL HEALTH crisis
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Norfolk
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 June, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 December, 2016
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 31 May, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Other local body
Primary research method used 
Focus group
User stories
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Psychiatry/mental health (hospital services)
Accident & emergency
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Mental health crisis service
Community services 
Community based services for people with mental health needs
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not known
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.