A project that halved the number of mental health patients being admitted for observation by accident and emergency (A&E) staff at a Brighton hospital has won a national award.
The Brighton Urgent Response Service (BURS) won praise from the judges of the first Guardian Healthcare Innovation Awards.
The service provides emergency care for patients with mental health problems at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.
It also provides crisis support in the community with the aim of reducing patients unnecessarily going to A&E.
The BURS project is run by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust working with three other local health organisations
- South East Coast Ambulance Service
- Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals which runs the Royal Sussex
- Brighton and Hove Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG)
The project won the Hospital Admissions award. The judging panel praised the “innovative and unique” way that triage nurses see all mental health patients within four hours of their arrival at the Royal Sussex.
Sussex Partnership said: “This has led to a 50 per cent fall in the number of patients with mental health problems being admitted to the observation ward by A&E staff.
“More than 85 per cent of patients are now seen and assessed by the mental health team within four hours.
“Anybody turning up and A&E with a mental health problem is automatically referred to a specialist mental health triage nurse within an hour – something which is unique in A&E units.”
Elena Riseborough, team leader, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to win this award and be recognised for our efforts to prevent unnecessary hospital admissions and to provide a positive experience for patients arriving at A&E with mental health problems.
“The whole team has worked so hard to develop a model that provides patients with a rapid mental health assessment and appropriate safe discharge.”
Dr Lisa Page, consultant liaison psychiatrist, said: “This win is testimony to the hard work of our partners in supporting this pilot project.
“We’re so grateful to Brighton and Hove CCG for their enthusiasm in getting the project started and to Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals and South East Coast Ambulance Service for their continuous support.
“We will continue to work as hard as we can with our partners to ensure that the experience of mental health patients in crisis continues to improve.”
The Guardian Healthcare Innovation awards were set up this year to recognise ideas or services that significantly improve the quality or management of care for patients.
They were hosted at The Guardian’s London offices last Thursday (24 October).