We are improving, say Wiltshire mental health bosses

Wiltshire's mental health service is still missing its target for patients to be seen within four hours – but bosses say it is getting closer.

A year ago the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust was criticised in an independent report for being too target driven, the detriment of patient care.

The report was requested by the NHS South of England Patient Safety and Care Standards Committee following an inquiry into two murders committed by former patients.

A follow-up report in May described the described the trust as unrecognisable but said more had to be done for users.

While still short of the national four hour waiting time target, AWP is focusing on ensuring that patients at risk of harm are swiftly identified by its crisis team and that staff have a better understanding of the type of help those with mental health issues in Swindon need and deserve.

In September 87.1 per cent of all patients were admitted to a unit in less than four hours, failing to meet the UK-wide 98 per cent target. But this was a significant increase from the 74 per cent recorded in July.

The trust said an overhaul of the health service, complete with a new management team and better supervision and training of employees, has led to better care and, gradually, quicker response time for patients.

While some cases are considered to be emergencies, which need to be dealt with within four hours, others are deemed urgent – meaning AWP will have 24 hours to treat patients or refer them to the right ward.

An AWP spokesman said: “Several actions have been taken to ensure emergency access to crisis intervention services within four hours. There has been a complete review of how we work to make sure there are no delays.

"There has been awareness training about the difference between emergency and urgent cases to ensure better understanding and improve patient care.”

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