Integrated mental health urgent care test bed

Who is involved?

Core partners:

  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust
  • Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust
  • Midlands and Lancashire Commissioning Support Unit (CSU)
  • West Midlands Police Service
  • West Midlands Ambulance Service
  • Joint Commissioning Birmingham
  • West Midlands Academic Health Science Network
  • Telefónica Innovation Alpha

We also have numerous statutory, academic, voluntary and industry sector stakeholders who we will work with throughout the project.

Patient population size

Our test bed area is the 1.3million population of Birmingham and Solihull, where approximately 25,000 people access mental health urgent care services each year.


Our Test Bed is an innovative project to achieve predictive, preventative, integrated and efficient mental health urgent care service for patients and their relatives. This will build on and improve existing services as follows:

  • Mental health urgent care coordination centre will be at the heart of the new system. The coordination centre will include mobile crisis workers and tele-triage workers providing prevention support before a crisis arises and will help patients and relatives to access information related to their care, with the support of an electronic bed management system, a visual management board displaying those currently at risk of or in crisis and a live demand and capacity system supported by Midlands and Lancashire CSU. The coordination centre will ensure that all parts of the population receive support inclusive of all cultures e.g. veterans, BME communities, transgender and LGBT.
  • Predictive technology to help us to know when people are likely to enter crisis, supported by our commercial partner Telefónica Innovation Alpha.
  • Digital tools such as online support, electronic early warning signs and crisis intervention plans and risk assessments that patients and other care professionals can use. All coproduced with patients and their support networks, supported through our internal systems development team.
  • Training unit providing staff in partner organisations, including: Birmingham Community Healthcare Trust; West Midlands Ambulance; West Midlands Police; service users and their nominated network of support, with training to help them identify early warning signs in those regularly experiencing crisis.
  • Research, evaluation and scaling- proving what works, identifying and fixing what doesn’t work with support from our CSU colleagues and, ensuring that West Midlands organisations receive support to adopt all evidence based innovations with help from the West Midlands Academic Health Science Network.

With the introduction of this innovative technology our patients will have easier access to the services, more support available all the time and reduction in crisis events. There will be more help available to prevent crisis, for example having easier access to people on the telephone, online support or people who can provide face to face support when they suspect a crisis. Patients and support networks will also be able to receive training to help them to identify early warning signs and to provide feedback related to their own risk. They will also have access to self-management tools and those that experience crisis most often will be provided with a shared online early warning signs and care plan which, provided they are happy, their nominated support network and organisations involved in their care will be able to see. This will ensure that individuals are supported in the way they want to be at times of mental health crisis. Support will also be provided if needed by our partners who will be trained to recognise early signs of crisis and will be able to access greater support for those individuals.

For patients this will mean:

  • Patients who experience mental health crisis most often will have access to an electronic shared crisis intervention and early warning signs plan which, subject to their consent, their nominated network of support and all agencies involved in their care will be able to view.
  • All patients experiencing mental health crisis and their nominated network of support will have access to online support tools for self-management of mental health conditions, prevention of crisis and to provide their own risk assessment scores.
  • Patients will experience coordinated and consistent care in line with their wishes, resulting in crisis being resolved at an earlier stage.

For clinicians this will mean:

  • Live visual management board placed in the mental health coordination hub to allow clinicians to have access to live capacity and demand mapping of mental health crisis resources across Birmingham and Solihull.