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New mental health service wins prestigious national award

STAFFORDSHIRE University has collaborated on a revolutionary project to improve care and save millions of pounds at two NHS Trusts – recently winning a prestigious national award.

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards, the largest of its kind in the UK, named the Rapid Assessment and Interface Discharge (RAID) service as the Best Innovation in Mental Health.

With help from Staffordshire University’s Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, the RAID service has been established at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) and Sandwell and West Birmingham Hospitals Trust.

It has seen specialist RAID teams set up to work closely with doctors, nurses and charities to provide 24-hour services for patients with mental health, alcohol or drugs problems.

Professor George Tadros, a member of Staffordshire University’s Centre for Ageing and Mental Health, has been working on the project with the Trusts.

He said: “What we had before was a liaison service which gave advice to clinics and patients with mental health problems.

“RAID is completely different. It’s about developing a mental health team within the hospital to work with clinicians, improve patient care, and reduce the length of stay as well as readmissions.

“This has generated savings of around £8million a year, as it has avoided unnecessary admissions into busy medical wards.”

It has also seen an increase in the number of staff on the team, with consultants, specialist nurses in medical and mental health, alcohol and drug abuse, and a psychologist all helping to improve patient care.

Staffordshire University’s Centre for Ageing and Mental Health is now working with BSMHFT to develop a manual to help other NHS Trusts around the country set up their own RAID teams.

The potential benefits for the wider NHS helped clinch the HSJ Best Innovation in Mental Health Award from 128 other entries.

Sue Turner, Chief Executive at BSMHFT, said: “This is fantastic news for our Trust and winning this HSJ Award shows how committed our staff are to delivering the very best care not only to its service users but to their carers, families and support workers.

“It is also a reflection of the continued dedication and professionalism of our staff and their determination to provide high quality care in new ways. We certainly have much to be proud of.”

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