Our Chief Executive visits the Mental Health Crisis Assessment Centre at Highgate West | News

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Our Chief Executive visits the Mental Health Crisis Assessment Centre at Highgate West

Caring for vulnerable people facing a mental health crisis across North London is one of our Partnership’s top priorities. We are working hard to improve crisis care by developing a new model of collocated services while partnering with local emergency departments.

On Tuesday 18 June, our Chief Executive, Jinjer Kandola, went to the Highgate Campus in Islington to visit the Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service (MHCAS). The service has recently relocated to Highgate, where it has been able to implement its ground-breaking ways of working. As one of only a few ‘mental health A&Es’ across London, it provides a vital service to local communities, while releasing pressure on emergency departments.

Taking Jinjer round the site (pictured above, left to right) was Consultant Psychiatrist and Hospital Division Interim Clinical Director, Dr James Dove; Head of Service for MHCAS/HBPoS, Faye Landy; Clinical Support Worker, Maria Petropoulou; and Development Project Manager, Akin Durowoju.

Colleagues expressed how having the MHCAS and Health-Based Place of Safety (HBPoS) on the same site, near local acute hospitals, makes providing joined-up care to some of our most vulnerable service users easier.

Jinjer visited the clinical and staff areas at MHCAS and HPBoS, taking time to speak to colleagues about their day-to-day work and how the experiences of service users compare to those of patients presenting to an acute hospital's accident and emergency (A&E) department. Nationally, people in mental health crisis are four times more likely to wait over 12 hours for an assessment in A&E. Our local model is ensuring they get the right care, from the right professional, in the right place, as quickly as possible.

James demonstrated a handover call with clinical staff from Highgate and our liaison teams based at different A&Es, including in the Whittington, University College Hospital and the Royal Free Hospitals. Jinjer was able to observe how the systems these teams have in place allow patients to be assessed and referred for mental health care in accordance with their needs. 

James explained that what makes MHCAS’ way of working particularly effective is the ability to share information, knowledge and expertise from different clinical teams, as everyone is in the same clinical space.

The benefit of having the HBPoS on the same site as MHCAS, James added, is that you can work with more vulnerable service users in the confidence that the HBPoS can handle a higher level of risk.

This joined-up way of working at the Highgate "campus" is reflective of our ambition to promote joint working across our five boroughs, Jinjer concluded at the end of her visit — something which we will make a core part of the culture of our new Trust come October.  


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