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The crisis help and support available for people with mental health problems across Lincolnshire is expanding thanks to a new service based in Lincoln.

Thanks to funding from the Department of Health and local NHS clinical commissioning groups, Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has recently opened a new psychiatric clinical decisions unit (PCDU) and is expanding its home treatment teams, to better support patients experiencing a severe episode of mental ill health or crisis.

By providing additional assessment and intensive home support the Trust hopes to positively reduce hospital admissions and the number of patients travelling out of the area for hospital care.

The new service, based on the Lincoln County Hospital site, will provide a safe space for patients to have a thorough assessment of their needs. Patients will work with professionals to help decide the best treatment and support for them, whether this is returning home with intensive support from professionals, or being admitted to a specialist mental health ward.

The psychiatric clinical decisions unit will be able to care for up to six patients at a time, for up to 24 hours, in a safe and less clinical environment. This will enable the team to spend more time with patients to better assess their needs and decide with them and their carers what would best help them through their current crisis or severe episode.

The unit will also be supported by additional staff in the Trust's community home treatment teams, who will be able to provide more intensive support at home and prevent the need for hospital admission.

The Trust is recruiting around 35 additional staff, who will be working alongside existing crisis and home treatment teams and mental health hospital liaison staff at accident and emergency departments across the county, to identify those people who would benefit from additional assessment and home support.

Gareth Price, Service Manager said:
"We believe that a service of this kind will have a positive impact on helping to reduce hospital admissions and provide our patients with better, quicker and more appropriate support in a crisis."

John Dwane, a former service user who has been involved in the design and development of the new service, was happy to see this additional support put in place. He said:
"When someone is in crisis they don't always know where to turn to for help. Often having somewhere to go, where they can talk to mental health professionals and discuss their issues in a calm and relaxed environment can help identify the help they need and stop a situation escalating to the point when someone needs hospital treatment."

Dr John Brewin, Chief Executive and a practising consultant psychiatrist at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust who formally opened the unit said:
"We've been working closely with partners as part of the Sustainability and Transformation Partnership to look at how we can help patients receive care and treatment locally, without the need to travel outside of the county. We are really pleased to be able to provide such care in a less restrictive environment, with this fantastic new service.

If you're experiencing serious mental health problems, being away from your family and friends network is far from ideal. We want people to remain at home or as close to home as possible during their recovery and the PCDU is yet another step closer to achieving this. It's an exciting time for the Trust and further underlines our commitment to providing the highest possible quality of care for the people of Lincolnshire."

The psychiatric clinical decisions unit will officially start accepting patient referrals today (2 January 2018).

PCDU opening Dec 17 1

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