02 Feb 2016

West London Mental Health Trust has become the first trust in the UK to have three services accredited as ‘Excellent’ through the Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network (PLAN). The trust’s services in Ealing, West Middlesex, Hammersmith, and Charing Cross hospitals were all awarded this exceptional accreditation through the Royal College of Psychiatrists quality improvement benchmarking process.

Liasion psych teams pic

PLAN assesses good practice and high quality care in liaison services, which provide psychiatric treatment to patients attending acute hospitals in an crisis. Their comprehensive set of standards include ensuring that services are adequately staffed by a skilled team, are supportive and focus on patient needs, and provide comprehensive assessments for patients. All three of WLMHT’s liaison psychiatry teams (Ealing, Hounslow, and Hammersmith and Fulham) have been accredited as ‘Excellent’ according to these standards.

The review team had very high praise for all three liaison psychiatry services, commenting that teams were very cohesive with a strong sense of identity and purpose, and created a positive working environment. They were seen to be flexible, developing and responding to patients’ needs. Patients consistently described staff as professional and efficient.

As liaison psychiatry services, the teams were also assessed by how well they collaborate with physical healthcare services. It was found that all three teams are highly valued by their acute colleagues, who see them as a “healthy and fantastic service”. Staff were observed to be proactively identifying patients who need psychiatric support before they’d even been referred by acute services.

The liaison psychiatry services have also supported the development of the trust-wide perinatal psychiatry service, which will launch soon.

Dr Amrit Sachar, consultant liaison psychiatrist at the trust, said: “Having all of our services accredited as ‘Excellent’ is a fantastic place to have reached, and shows how we’re raising the profile of liaison psychiatry. It’s great having a real presence in all three boroughs. This achievement is all down to having great teams with a high morale, who really care about delivering excellent integrated care. They’re always thinking of creative solutions around problems, and how to make the most out of our funding.”

Sarah Rushton, director of local services, said: “The trust is very proud of this achievement. Our liaison psychiatry teams have built a well-deserved reputation as a flexible and innovative service that works well with partners so the patient gets the best possible outcome.”

The liaison teams now hope to expand their pilot services to include long term conditions in the community, and further embed liaison psychiatry in the undergraduate training of student doctors and nurses.