A&E staff and mental health specialists from St Helier Hospital welcomed Minister of State for Care and Support Norman Lamb and MP Paul Burstow to the A&E department this week, as the VIPs came to find out about how staff care for patients who also have mental health conditions.
The two MPs met with the hospital’s psychiatry lead Dr Jim Bolton and A&E consultant Dr Carole Ann Johnson who took them on a guided tour of the unit, explaining the work of the South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust (SWLSTG) liaison psychiatry team which is based at the hospital.
Dr Bolton explained: “We were absolutely delighted to welcome Mr Lamb and Mr Burstow to our hospital, and take the opportunity to explain a bit more about the work we do and how that helps our vulnerable patients.
“Working with teams across the hospital, it’s the job of the psychiatry team to provide immediate access to specialist mental health support for people being treated for physical health problems, and help to treat patients with a wide range of issues, including dementia, alcohol dependence and drug addiction.
“Sadly, people who are in hospital regularly are 25% more likely to have a mental health issue than people who do not need regular treatment. Whether that is because a patient has a chronic illness and has become depressed or because they have a substance misuse problem, we are here to make sure that aside from their medical care, they are also receiving support and treatment for any psychiatric issues.”
Norman Lamb said: "It was good to meet the liaison psychiatry team. St Helier has been ahead of the curve with this having a team in place for some time.
"We need more teams like this linking mental health to physical health."
Paul Burstow added: “I wanted Norman to see the excellent work the liaison psychiatry team do at St Helier.
"Mental health plays a big part in so many physical health problems and vice versa that we need to see more widely addressed by the NHS. Norman was very impressed."