Early Access Service (EAS) Walsall

The Early Access Service delivers a single point of entry for all adult referrals (17 to 65) in Walsall and will provide mental health screening and assessment of all secondary care referrals. The service will accept referrals for patients with a moderate to severe mental illness.

Referrals to the service can be made by:

  • GPs
  • Police Cells and Section 136
  • MHA
  • LD
  • MH Primary Care Team

They provide a service Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm.

What are the implications for me as a GP?

Firstly, the Early Access Service will provide a single point of referral for GPs seeking to access services in Secondary Care. This includes referral for an out-patient opinion as these clinics will now form a part of the Early Access Service.

As you will be aware, the Early Access Service is commissioned to accept referrals for patients with a moderate to severe mental illness. Patients who do not meet the criteria for Secondary Care after screening will be referred back to Primary Care Services where appropriate to do so, but may also be signposted to other services.

Please also be aware that the Early Access Service is not currently commissioned to provide services to persons with Autistic spectrum disorders and therefore will not be accepting referrals for patients who fall within this service group unless there is a clear indication of moderate to severe mental illness in addition to the symptoms and behaviours normally associated with this condition. GPs are advised to discuss any perceived short-fall in service provision for this patient group with Commissioning.

Making a Referral

When a referral is received by the Service, the Service will either offer a priority appointment to your patient with a view to assessing their needs within 15 working days or, in exceptional circumstances where there are clearly defined risk factors present, seek to see that patient on a same-day basis.

In the case of the latter, if after you see a patient in your surgery and you feel that a same-day response is required, please ring the Service number given and discuss this with the Duty Worker who will be pleased to assist.

All referrals should be made either by yourselves or by the Mental Health Primary Care Team based in your surgery.  Please note that as the Early Access Service is a Secondary Service, it does not accept self-referrals from members of the public. Persons trying to self-refer will be referred back to their respective GP or Primary Care Nurse for initial screening of need.

How do I make a Referral?

GPs seeking to make a referral which does not require a same day response should write in to the service, providing a short history of the patient and the reason for the referral.

You will receive a letter acknowledging receipt of the referral. You will also be informed as to when an appointment has been arranged for the patient to be seen by the Early Access Service. You will receive a further letter post-assessment from the relevant Psychiatric Team Doctor informing you of the outcome of the assessment and any suggested treatment plan.

If when you initially assess your patient in your surgery, you are concerned that there are significant risks present which may immediately impact upon the health and safety of the patient, please ring and discuss your concerns with the Duty Worker at the Early Access Service. The Duty Worker will be happy to assist you to determine the appropriate course of action. As previously mentioned above, where circumstances are so exceptional as to warrant this intervention, patients can be offered a same-day appointment with the Early Access Service.

Please note that the Early Access Service has a remit to only assess patients who are not already receiving secondary care interventions.

Patients already receiving secondary services through a specialist Team remain the responsibility of that team and do not fall within the remit of the Early Access Team. All patients receiving secondary mental health services have an allocated care co-ordinator. Should you become concerned about a patient of yours who falls within this remit please make direct contact with the care co-ordinator.