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‘Hugely important!’ NHS 111 service expanding to include mental health support in Lincolnshire

The expansion of the NHS 111 service to include mental health support has been welcomed by councillors and health officials, saying it’s exactly what Lincolnshire needs post Covid-19.

Starting from April 2, individuals of all ages calling 111 can press 2 to access urgent mental health support.

This improved service allows callers to speak with specially trained mental health clinicians in the local area around the clock, discuss their urgent needs, and receive guidance on the most appropriate support.

Coun Carl Macey, chairman of Lincolnshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee
Coun Carl Macey, chairman of Lincolnshire County Council Health Scrutiny Committee

The Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT), which is managing the programme locally, is actively recruiting for this new team and is confident in its ability to launch alongside the national rollout.

Mental health continues to be a significant concern nationwide even post-pandemic, as an NHS England report highlights that one in five children and young people were identified with probable mental disorders in 2023.

Coun Carl Macey (Conservative), chairman of the Lincolnshire County Council’s Health Scrutiny Committee, said that the expansion of NHS 111 is precisely what the county needs right now.

Chris Higgins, Director of Operations at LPFT
Chris Higgins, Director of Operations at LPFT

“At this moment, there isn’t any mental health service through the NHS 111 system, so what they are doing is expanding it,” he said after Wednesday’s meeting.

“Anyone with a mental health issue, whether it be a crisis or any sort of problem, can go directly through, receive good advice, and get treated much quicker than they do at this moment in time.”

He continued: “It is hugely important at the moment; we regularly hear on the news about the impact Covid-19 has had, whether on young people or those who faced isolation, so I hugely welcome it.

“I think it’s excellent news and exactly what we need. I think the system will be fantastic, and we will closely monitor it to make sure it is delivering what we need it to.”

Chris Higgins, director of operations at LPFT, added: “It should be a really positive initiative. People are familiar with NHS 111 — people are using that for their physical health I think quite regularly — this is offering the same opportunity for mental health.

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“If people have mental health problems, they can use and access mental health services, and we are structuring our services behind that so that people can get a really good positive response by appropriate trained professionals.

“We’ve seen that the demand for mental health services has grown significantly across the country, across all ages and across all conditions. So, having different ways for people to access support is really vital and this is just part of that picture.”

Mr Higgins added: “We will also continue to work with our partners at the police and other health and care agencies to ensure people receive the right support to meet their needs, in a timely way.”

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