On-the-spot clinical support for people in a mental health crisis is now available to first responders in Plymouth through an app.

Those first on the scene, including police officers, can contact the Livewell first response team using the Livewell Connect app.

The team, a group of trained mental health professionals, will then be able to offer direct video support to responders and patients in a bid to reduce unnecessary A&E attendances.

Dr Kate Lovett, dean of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a consultant psychiatrist at Livewell Southwest, said: “Covid-19 has given us the opportunity to think very differently about how we do things. I am really enjoying using our Livewell Connect app to see patients virtually.

“I have had excellent feedback from patients who have appreciated its ease of use. I have also found it straightforward to use.

“I will take a lot of convincing to go back to running old fashioned, traditional outpatient appointments. In my view, the new digital platform is likely to revolutionise our services in the future.”

Patients with a range of mental health conditions who have been referred for therapy are also being offered the chance to book, access a range of digital clinics and have their appointments via the free Livewell Connect platform, developed by Visiba Care.

Livewell Southwest, an integrated health and social care provider of NHS services and adult social care in Plymouth, and community health services in South Hams and West Devon, is also offering patients access to a range of other digital clinics and online consultations as the Covid-19 outbreak continues.

Patients registered with the service can now access online services including psychiatric consultations and counselling, adult social care, physiotherapy, community nursing and dentistry.

Further services are expected to be added as the technology is rolled out across the organisation over the next 12 months.

Tina Marshall, Visiba Care UK manager, said: “We’re delighted to be working with Livewell Southwest to provide a digitally integrated care service for patients. It means more people can get access to the health and care services they need in the region, something which is more important than ever before.”

Visiba Care was one of 11 suppliers selected to provide video consultations for primary care to help the NHS cope with unprecedented pressure caused by the Covid-19 outbreak.

They were selected from a group of 33 trusted suppliers that were sent a confidential 48-hour tender for the immediate provision of online primary care consultation by NHS England in March.

It was also one of two suppliers chosen to deliver the “customisable” lot, which would allow patients to complete a questionnaire on their symptoms in order to be directed to the correct services.