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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
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First meeting of new network to develop RAID liaison psychiatry services

Published: 11/12/2014

Friday 12 December sees the first meeting of a new network established to share best practice and further develop the RAID (Rapid Assessment, Interface and Discharge) model for liaison psychiatry services, which has been highlighted nationally by the Department of Health as an effective model that improves care and saves money in acute hospitals.

This first network meeting is hosted by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, which developed the RAID model in 2009 as a pilot in City Hospital in Birmingham. 

RAID network

The RAID team, comprising nurses, psychiatrists, psychologists and physicians assistants, will promptly see anyone attending A&E or who is a hospital inpatient, who might be suffering from mental health problems. The co-occurrence of mental and physical health problems is very common among these patients, often leading to poorer health outcomes and increased health care costs. Previously, people could face lengthy waits before being referred on to the relevant service, but under RAID clinicians are able to assess patients within an hour of arriving at A&E or within 24 hours if on a ward.

Following the success of RAID in City Hospital, the service won a prestigious HSJ Award for innovation in mental health in 2010 and the Trust now has a RAID service established in every acute hospital in Birmingham.

This is a priority area for the Government, with a £30 million targeted investment in effective models of liaison psychiatry in more hospitals announced in October this year as part of its aspiration to put mental health care on an equal footing with physical health care. In its document Achieving Better Access to Mental Health Services by 2020, the Department of Health highlighted strong evidence that the RAID model can deliver clinically and cost-effective care to patients with a range of mental health problems, with one study suggesting that RAID can save an average of £5 million a year for a hospital by reducing both admissions and length of stay.

Friday’s network meeting at the Library of Birmingham is intended for senior staff from established RAID teams across the country as well as those who are interested in setting up a RAID service, and over one third of mental health trusts in the country are due to be represented. High profile speakers include Dr Peter Aitken, Chair of the Faculty of Liaison Psychiatry at the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Lucy Palmer from the Psychiatric Liaison Accreditation Network as well as representatives from some of the 20 RAID services in the United Kingdom.

As well as hosting events the RAID network, which is supported by the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network, is developing a website to allow these organisations to share progress, best practice, ideas and experiences with colleagues, as well as provide useful tools and resources, for example job descriptions.  The idea is to strengthen links between RAID services to facilitate collaborative working on research and innovation projects, facilitate adoption of RAID and improve and expand the overall service provided by RAID across the NHS. 

John Short, Chief Executive at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“RAID has a track record of improving quality of care for patients and also saving money and has been independently evaluated and highlighted nationally as a best practice model for liaison psychiatry. We are delighted to host this network in order to bring together teams from across the NHS to share knowledge and learning and further develop and improve the RAID model for the future.”