I’m Amy Manning, S12 Solutions’ founder and an Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP).
A Mental Health Act 1983 (MHA) assessment is used to assess whether someone should be detained under the MHA to receive treatment for mental health disorder. As an AMHP, I take into consideration the person, their circumstances and the legal framework; depriving someone of their liberty and providing treatment without consent is a last resort, and I must be certain that detention is the right thing to do.
It’s also my job to arrange two doctors, with appropriate training and skills, to attend assessments with me. I make calls using my list of doctor contact details; I don’t know where they are or if they’re available, so this can take hours. Sometimes doctors can’t be found, and the assessment is passed to the next shift, potentially leaving the person waiting distressed and at risk, and police, ambulance and place of safety resources held up during the delay. Assessments are time sensitive, and any delay puts pressure on the entire system.
I was convinced that technology could help. I researched the problem and found an investor before commissioning a mobile application and website that allowed AMHPs to search for available, local doctors. Our pilot sites experienced assessments happening sooner than expected, more assessments completed within the shift that received the referral, and more doctors agreeing to take part in this work. Both sites commissioned the platform.
Our in-house development team developed the next iteration of the platform based on pilot feedback and research; this version is now live in Southampton, Hampshire, Peterborough, Cambridge, and Gloucester. We’re preparing to launch in early 2020 in Surrey, Norfolk, Waveney, Sussex, Hereford, Worcester, South London Partnership, Merseyside, Cheshire, Lancashire and South Cumbria, with many other sites in the pipeline too.
The next iteration captures more data, which we hope will help crisis care providers make evidence-based improvements to their services. We’ve introduced more Delivery & Account Managers to our team to help our sites implement and get the most from the platform. Another challenge is supporting behaviour change for users who find technology difficult; our Product Support Management team works with users post-implementation to make sure everyone receives the support they need.
Finding the right commissioners to talk to is an ongoing challenge. The AHSNs have been really helpful here, introducing us to the right people and opportunities that we wouldn’t have pursued otherwise. An AHSN encouraged us to apply for the NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA), and earlier this year we were announced as one of its innovations. We’re also part of NHS England’s Innovation and Technology Payment initiative, part of G Cloud 11, have ISO 27001 and 9001 accreditations and have achieved Gold Standard Investors in People status.
I encourage healthcare innovators to arrange free of charge pilots, where possible. We learned so much from these experiences and generated compelling evidence that helped us open doors with other organisations. Healthcare innovation demands your time, energy and money – make sure that you’re solving a problem that other people are motivated and financed to solve. Finally, good luck!
Amy’s innovator story was first featured in the first edition of The Innovators magazine, published by the AHSN Network in June 2019. Read the full publication here.