Information for patients and carers

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On this page you will find some information that we’ve put together for Service users and carers.

A psychiatric liaison team works within a general hospital and provides mental health assessment and treatment for people in A&E or on an in-patient ward. The liaison team work with a number of different people including:

  • Older people who suffer from dementia or delirium.
  • Individuals who have self-harmed and are being seen in A&E.
  • People who have an existing mental health problem and are currently in hospital with a physical illness.
  • Those who have been diagnosed with a physical illness and need some emotional support to adjust to this.

Liaison teams will vary from hospital-to-hospital and the roles they carry out will depend on what services the general hospital have asked them to provide. The below diagram outlines some of the things a liaison team may provide.

What are my rights when seeing a liaison team?

When seeing a liaison professional for an assessment you have the right to:

  • Be seen in a private area.
  • Choose whether or not a relative, friend or advocate will accompany you for the assessment. You may wish for them to be included in your assessment or excluded (i.e. not at the assessment), it is your decision.   
  • Be involved in decisions about your problems and any treatment being offered.
  • Be provided with information about what has been discussed in your assessment.
  • Be kept informed of your care plan and any on-going treatment available.

We work with services to assure and improve the quality of psychiatric care in hospital settings, from referral systems, to meeting emergency and routine mental health needs. To achieve this, we offer liaison teams the opportunity to take part in our accreditation process.

This involves the team engaging staff, colleagues and patients in a review process, to ensure teams are meeting our standards. Through this process good practice and high quality care are recognised and services are supported to identify and address areas for improvement.

Accreditation assures staff, patients and carers, commissioners and regulators of the quality of the service being provided by the team.

Our aims are to:

  1. Sign up as many liaison teams as possible, so that we can support them all to improve the service they provide.
  2. Support service users and carers to be involved in shaping liaison services, by giving feedback on their local hospital’s mental health service and getting involved in PLAN.
  3. Making sure that the government, policy makers and commissioners understand the importance of liaison mental health services. We believe that all general hospitals should have access to liaison mental health services.

Why get involved?

We strongly believe that in order to improve the quality of liaison services, we must take into account the views, ideas and experiences of service users and their carers.

Service users and carers we currently work with have said that:

  • They feel good about helping to improve services.
  • They learn about standards or care and what good practice looks like.
  • They feel their voice is heard and that their opinion is important.
  • They value meeting other service users and carers and hearing their views.

What support is available?

We are committed to ensuring that those we work with are well involved and supported. If successful, you will be provided with a contact person in the team who will provide training, support and information where needed. You will also be reimbursed for your time.

How to apply

If you are interested in getting involved with the work we do, please download the application pack and application form where you will find further details about how to apply. 

If you have any questions or would like to have an informal discussion, please contact Emily Patterson, Deputy Programme Manager on 0203 701 2725 or email Emily.Patterson@rcpsych.ac.uk

We all know the importance of keeping fit and looking after ourselves, but in reality this can be easier said than done.

There are strong links between mental and physical health and it is important that we look after both sides of our health.

There is an urgent need to strengthen both the provision of mental health care to people with physical illness and the quality of physical health care provided to people with mental health problems in general hospitals and primary care. This is why we believe there is "No Health without Mental Health"

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has complied a number of resources and information on various mental health problems

Get in contact to receive further information regarding a career in psychiatry