Expanded service offers expert mental health care at West Suffolk Hospital for children and young people

The mental health liaison team based at West Suffolk hospital will be extending their services to include people of any age who may need their help from 1 April.

The mental health liaison service at West Suffolk Hospital is now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The 16-strong team, employed by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, recently increased their hours and are now available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to support the care of any patient who has mental health needs. Until recently, their services were restricted to those over the age of 13, but now they can see children of 12 and under.

The mental health liaison team is the link between physical health services in the hospital and mental health services. This means mental health expertise is available to patients and hospital staff in a non-mental health setting.

Team lead Gemma Fretwell said, “There is a countrywide ‘Core24’ model for liaison mental health, which recognises the need to provide care 24/7, for people of any age.

“We are available to all departments across the hospital, including A&E, ensuring that patients get the support they need for both their physical and mental health.”

A patient who was seen by the team recently said that they were “really thorough, compassionate and friendly. “They listened to me, took me seriously and helped me create a plan to manage my mental health in a dignified way.”

West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust head of mental health Natalie Bailey said: “This is really positive news. We really value the close working relationship we have with the NSFT team, and this extension of the service will help us provide quicker and more effective help to those of our patients who need our support with their mental, as well as their physical, health.”