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Enabling quicker and easier Mental Health Act assessments

We have supported the introduction of an innovative new technology across north central and north east London to improve the Mental Health Act assessment process for service users and medical professionals.

A key aspect of UCLPartners’ role is to help NHS organisations in our region to identify, review and implement clinically proven, cost effective innovative products or technologies (medical devices, digital platforms and technologies) that are ready for NHS adoption and spread.

As part of the AHSN Network, we are plugged into new products and technologies that can offer solutions to the major challenges our NHS partners face.

Challenge

Mental Health Act assessments are used to assess whether someone should be detained under the Mental Health Act to receive treatment for mental health disorder. People were detained 49,988 times under the Mental Health Act in England between 1st April 2018 and 31st March 2019.

These assessments are conducted by an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) who must arrange for two doctors, with appropriate training and skills, to also attend. Often, it can take hours for an AMHP to find two available doctors. If no doctors are available, assessments are delayed, potentially leaving the service user waiting distressed and at risk. This delay can also put pressure on the entire urgent mental health crisis care pathway, including emergency departments, mental health places of safety, police and ambulance services.  

What we did

Our expert mental health team and health tech advisors introduced North London Partners in Health and Care and East London Health and Care Partnership to S12 Solutionsan app and website that connects AMHPs with doctors who are approved to oversee Mental Health Act assessments, enabling quicker and easier set-up, and claim form creation and submission. We then supported the launch of the innovation across both integrated care systems.

This is a great opportunity to roll out a digital innovation across the North East London Commissioning Alliance, which will improve the mental health assessment experience for service users and clinicians across North East London

Carrie Kilpatrick, Deputy Director for Mental Health and Joint Commissioning, Waltham Forest and East London CCGs

Original pilots for S12, conducted in 2018 in both an urban and rural setting showed that the platform helped to increase the doctor network available to AMHPs, with one pilot finding that the number of requests for assessments during the day, and the number of assessments completed within a shift that received the referral, both increased by 63%.

S12 Solutions is one of the products on the NHS Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme, which supports the NHS to adopt innovations by removing some of the financial and procurement barriers. The product’s founder, Amy Manning, has been supported by the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), a national programme hosted by UCLPartners.

Finding the right commissioners to talk to is an ongoing challenge. As an AMHP, I am confident that S12 Solutions provides the answer to a common challenge faced by mental health services across the country. UCLPartners have helped to identify the services that could benefit most from S12 and supported us to work with them

Amy Manning, S12 Solutions founder

Impact

With our support, S12 Solutions is now being rolled out across north central and north east London. The innovation is benefitting service users, AMHPs and other public services by:

  • Helping service users to receive assessments sooner, by the best available assessing team, minimising distress and risk.
  • Giving AMHPs more time to prepare for an assessment.
  • Giving doctors who are approved to give medical recommendations under Section 12 of the Mental Health Act, fairer access to and more control over their work.
  • Reducing the time police spend waiting with service users in Section 136 scenarios (in which police can detain an individual that they think has a mental illness and needs ‘care or control’), reducing the risk of unlawful detention 136 scenarios.

I have been working as a section 12 doctor for past four or five years and always felt the need for such a platform. S12 solutions app is revolutionary as not only has it simplified things but has also brought things like availability and claims in one place

A doctor from East London NHS Foundation Trust