Specialist team set up to deal with drug and alcohol addictions in Milton Keynes sees 147 patients in its first month

An addictions team set up to reduce substance misuse in MK  is seeing encouraging signs that its efforts may be paying off.

Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 17th March 2021, 12:34 pm

The Rapid Engagement Support Team (REST) was established to help ease pressures on inpatient wards and A&E by providing more intensive support in the community.

It also aims reduce the length of time patients stay in hospital or on a psychiatric ward.

Its efforts have been warmly welcomed by Milton Keynes Mental Health Services who have said its work has made a "huge difference".

The team was set up to tackle substance misuse in MK

In an email to the team interim Clinical Director, Dr Sujaa Arokiadass, said: “I needed to let you know that your REST team has been tremendously helpful in managing patients in the Milton Keynes Crisis team.

“As you are aware, we do have significant co-morbidity with alcohol and substance use that escalate clinical risks in crisis psychiatric presentations. I can’t thank you enough for the timely advice, input and joint working with the crisis team staff that you and your team have been able to do. I know that it has made a positive difference to patient experience and staff stress levels.”

Figures from the first month show the service saw 147 people.

The REST also works with the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team (CRHTT) to help with the management and engagement of service users who have substance misuse issues and who often have mental health problems.

Through this relationship it has managed to prevent two service users from being referred to the Campbell Centre psychiatric unit..

Typical work it provides includes specialist comprehensive assessment, clinical advice, psychosocial and peer support interventions such as; relapse prevention, motivational interviewing, brief interventions, extended brief interventions, harm reduction and health education.

Addictions Area Manager Teresa Wirz said: “We stood up the service in lightning speed and I’m highly impressed with the team’s efforts and early results.

“What we’ve seen so far is that REST is more effective in helping avoid admissions onto the inpatient unit. We believe over time they will also start being able to reduce the length of stay of service users also. The latter will always be more difficult because they are often more acutely unwell at this stage of their treatment. The REST team have been finding innovative ways of engaging with clients and also working to assertively to link them into specialist addiction services.

“By making the daily contact with clients on the wards and working alongside the CRHTT there are longer-term benefits including upskilling colleagues, planting the seed of treatment and establishing longer term therapeutic relationships.”