callhandlerA new out-of-hours urgent advice line has been launched in Milton Keynes by Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust (CNWL) to provide support, signposting and advice to mental health patients, their families and carers.

The CNWL Out-of-Hours Urgent Advice Line was piloted in London earlier this year and has now been launched in Milton Keynes following a review of the Trust’s wider out-of-hours arrangements.

Cathy Walker, managing director of CNWL in Milton Keynes, said: "We have worked with service users and carers to identify ways in which we can continue to improve our mental health services to best support local service users, including providing a single number and a line being answered by someone whose sole job it is to provide support and advice.

"We are confident the new out-of-hours crisis arrangements will best meet the needs of our service users and their carers."

First point of contact
The line is staffed by mental health professionals who have received training in this role and are knowledgeable about local services and options. The staff will listen to service users’ concerns and give them the support they need and ideas about what might be helpful for them.

It will also be the first point of contact for GPs out-of-hours, providing direct access to information about CNWL patients’ mental health treatment and history.

Claire Murdoch, chief executive of CNWL, added: "We are delighted to launch a line that patients or their carers can call in an emergency if they are worried about themselves or someone who might be experiencing a mental health crisis.

"The line operates at the times when families have most noticed an absence of support and offers direct help for patients and relieves pressure on A&E, so offering better outcomes for all."

The Advice Line is a freephone number but service users can request to be called back, particularly if they are calling from a mobile phone. The service can also be accessed through TypeTalk and a telephone interpreting service is also available.

CNWL is also hosting a new event looking at Treating Addiction, Promoting Recovery in Prisons - for more information and to book your place visit: