Making referrals for specialist mental health assessment
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Making referrals for specialist mental health assessment

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​In Halton, Knowsley, St Helens, Warrington and Wigan, we provide compassionate, therapeutic, patient centred and specialist mental health assessment for adults age 18 and over who may require support and treatment from secondary mental health services.

In Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington, the service is provided by our Mental Health Assessment Teams.

In Wigan, the service is provided by the Mental Health Urgent Response Team and mental health teams in the seven Wigan service delivery footprints. 

We accept referrals on routine, urgent and emergency pathways, where there is a requirement for specialist mental health assessment:
  • Psychosis, bipolar, chronic or severe depression or anxiety where levels of risk and complexity require treatment by specialist mental health services
  • Severe personality disorder where there is a clear role for secondary services
  • Dual diagnosis of complex and severe mental illness and alcohol/substance misuse where mental illness is the primary need
  • Self-harm, harm to others, harm from others or serious self-neglect due to complex presentations associated with severe mental illness
  • Complex trauma where needs cannot be met by primary care psychological services
  • Perinatal mental health problems
  • Military veterans 
Referrer guidance tool
We've developed visual referrer guidance to support you to identify the most appropriate referral route for mental health assessment and intervention for your patient. 

The tool provides a visual framework to guide referrers to identify the most appropriate referral priority, shares the threshold for referral into specialist services, and the clinical response from services that will be received. 

Halton, Knowsley, St Helens and Warrington decision tool  

Referrer MH decision tool.jpg

Wigan decision tool 

Referrer MH decision tool Wigan.jpg
Making a referral
Referrals for specialist mental health assessment can be made by GPs and other health and care professionals using the relevant referral form below: 
IMPORTANT: Please be aware that to prioritise patient safety, we are only able to accept referrals that meet service criteria.

Referrals will be returned if there is insufficient information to allow clinicians to be able to make an informed decision around the requirement for specialist assessment - for example, blank or incomplete referral forms.

Please use the referrer guidance tool above to identify the most appropriate clinical pathway.

Contacting your local team 
If you need to speak to someone about a referral, please contact your local team using the numbers below:
  • Halton Mental Health Assessment Team - Tel: 01925 664 000
  • Knowsley Mental Health Assessment Team - Tel: 0151 676 5263
  • St Helens Mental Health Assessment Team - Tel: 01744 621 688
  • Warrington Mental Health Assessment Team - Tel: 01925 666 647
  • Wigan Mental Health Urgent Response Team - Tel: 01942 636 395
Following a referral
Following a referral, the Mental Health Assessment Team or Urgent Response Team will strive to assess the patient (service user) in a holistic and bio-psychosocial style, understanding all health, psychological and social needs, in a timeframe in accordance with the referral pathway. See referrer guidance tool for further details.
The team will endeavour to complete an assessment, in collaboration with the patient (service user) family/carer of the patient's strengths, goals and existing support, whilst collaboratively assessing risk and formulating a safety management plan. 

Where possible, the Mental Health Assessment Team/Urgent Response Team will strive to provide referrers with an update following referral, including acceptance onto the most appropriate pathway and following assessment. Communication approaches may include electronic communication and telephone conversations. 
If, unfortunately the referral does not meet the criteria for acceptance, this will again be communicated back to referrers with recommended action to ensure the patient (service user) accesses the right care at the earliest opportunity.   

2020 changes to referral processes
In 2019, we carried out a review of our assessment teams including how patients were accessing the service. We wanted to improve the patient experience as well as patient safety. A big part of this work was to look at our referral processes to see where these could be improved and standardised.
Hear from Tim McPhee, Corporate Assistant Operational Director and Claire Bullen Foster, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Strategic Clinical Lead for Crisis:   


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