My day in the office kicks off at 9am. The team member in first will get the kettle on and make a strong coffee as soon as we get in – we never know what kind of day it’s going to be!
Next we’ll check whether any referrals for Mental Health Act assessments have been handed over by the Emergency Duty Team, and then look in the diary to see whether any other work has been booked in. The phones soon start ringing for advice and requests for assessments, and this lasts throughout the day – the AMHP team needs to prioritise work as it comes in, and we accept all referrals before 5pm.
When working on a Mental Health Act assessment, we’ll be busy setting it up – finding the best available doctors, consulting others who know the service user, reading the electronic record and printing the most relevant information for the assessing team.
Working with the Intensive Service (a crisis team that operates 24/7), we’ll be considering what other options are available, other than hospital admission, and also telephoning services that may be able to assist in providing the least restrictive option in the timeframe available. Debating the law in the AMHP office is a frequent occurrence, and encourages us to challenge our thinking and supports reflective practice.
Going out on assessment, especially within the community, it can take many hours to complete, especially if the service user needs to be admitted to hospital. For example, you may need to wait for a bed to be confirmed, and sometimes it can take a few hours for the ambulance to arrive.
Coffee is always a priority, and over the years I’ve learnt that having some snacks in my car is key to AMHP work to keep up my energy levels, plus hand gel, and bottles of water.
At the end of the day on duty as an AMHP, we have a supportive handover to the AMHP Manager and then it’s home to prepare for the next day!