Reducing delays experienced by patients at the Older Adults Mental Health Services team in South Bucks

Objectives and concerns


Reduce the proportion of incomplete or inappropriate referrals received by the Older Adults Mental Health Services team by 50% within six months of replacing the referral form.

About this project

The Older Adults Mental Health Services team care for service users with a range of mental health needs. Service users include people with functional (mental health) and organic (dementia/memory services) needs.  The Duty Team triage referrals into the service, but many referrals are missing important details such as blood test results. Incomplete information can delay access to the right health services.


The project employed the Institute for Health Improvement (IHI) Improvement model.  The team began by collecting baseline data on referrals received by the service.  Information gathered included number of referrals, referral reasons, referring practices and suitability and reasons if not (e.g., missing tests).  The team found that the referral form in use was not sufficiently clear, leading to referrals with incomplete information.


  • A new referral form has been created, providing more guidance to referring GPs with supporting evidence from NICE.
  • The new referral form is now under consultation, with plans to meet with stakeholders before implementation.
  • There have been several planned meetings with all stakeholders and the new referral form is to be piloted through two GP practices


Project made good progress in respect to the development of the referral. There were significant issues when requesting the local CCG and Primary care (GP) to adopt the referral form as a mean to access the service.

Non-urgent advice: Further information

Local project leads

  • Project now closed initial project lead left the Trust.

QI project support

  • Steve Pope, Improvement Lead

Page last reviewed: 27 September, 2021