Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT) has gone live with a messaging platform to help drive operational efficiencies within its mental health contact centre. 

The Refero Engagement Platform will support the influx of 111 crisis calls the centre receives. Since the pandemic, the centre has experienced a 66% increase in daily calls and it is hoped the platform will help streamline processes and improve organisational efficiencies so the centre can cope with this demand.

Refero’s platform was designed specifically for the trust and has the ability to provide improved messaging capabilities between the contact centre and clinical staff. It is hoped this will lead to better patient care and improve collaboration at the trust.

One key benefit to the new centralised system has been the enabling of contact centre agents, clinicians and trust staff to see ‘live’ whereabouts visibility of clinicians, out of hours calendars and rotas.

Tony Barwick, customer service manager at the trust, said: “We’ve already saved up to an hour per day on agents’ time with the new more efficient centralised system. Agents’ time is freed up to deal with more calls and caller waiting times have already halved from four to two minutes.

“Clinician follow ups to callers have also been greatly improved as agents are better informed of clinicians’ rotas and whereabouts, together with improved efficiencies around night shift handovers and grading of call urgency.”

Mental health services across the country are feeling the strain, with Covid-19 leading to a an ever-growing demand for them. Better digital services, and telehealth platforms like Refero’s can help to tackle some of the issues the NHS is faced with in the wake of the pandemic.

Although its key focus has been on mental health since the pandemic began, the contact centre has also been dealing with Test and Trace enquiries and taking urgent community response calls in a bid to support the ambulance service and district nursing teams. In the future it has plans to expand its remit so that it can manage all of the trust’s calls through the contact centre.

Sadie Plunkett, IT project and implementation manager at at the trust, added: “Refero delivered a platform that was designed specifically for our trust’s requirements. Its versatility enables us to future proof the system for any further requirements.

“The new telecare platform has been received favourably by clinicians and contact centre agents alike and has encouraged us all to work more cohesively together.”