A&E nurses at Northwick Park Hospital are swapping job skills with their counterparts in mental health.
The three month pilot will help both sets of professionals better manage and treat patients with mental health problems.
It brings together nurses from London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust and neighbouring Central and North West London Foundation NHS Trust.
Dr Lauren Fraser, Consultant in Emergency Medicine at Northwick Park Hospital, said: “We’ve seen an increasing numbers of patients attending A&E with mental health conditions in recent years.
“Our nurses don’t have specific mental health training, so any support on how to best to manage patients who can arrive quite agitated and distressed is welcome.”
The scheme will primarily focus on reducing the number of patients on a Section 136 of the Mental Health Act coming into A&E. These individuals are picked up and detained by the police concerned about their mental health.
Patients are assessed in a 136 suite which is a secure place of safety staffed by mental health nurses
Dr Fraser added: “There is a Section 136 suite on site, but around 90 of these patients came through A&E last year.
“Our nurses will be teaching their colleagues in mental health about assessing patients with physical health conditions.
“This includes head injuries, alcohol intoxication and overdoses, as well as basic emergency skills like vital signs measurement, simple wound management and catheter care.
“This will allow patients to be treated, where appropriate, in the Section 136 suite.”
In return, A&E staff will learn how to undertake risk assessments as well as how to better communicate with and manage patients with mental health conditions during five two-hour training sessions.
The collaboration is helping improve patients’ journey as well as laying the foundation for an effective partnership between the organisations.
The project is being funded by HEE’s Urgent and Emergency Care Workforce Collaborative for London and involves more than 30 nurses.