Journal of Surgical Simulation 2016; 3: A: 6 - 6

Published: 25 February 2016


Oral presentation

Special Issue: Simulation for Acute Psychiatric Emergencies (APE)

Helen Parker and Nick Walsh
Corresponding author: Helen Parker, Newham University Hospital, Glen Road, Plaistow, London, E13 8SL, UK. Email:


Among people under 65 years old nearly half of all ill health is mental illness. Psychiatric emergencies are a frequent, and increasing, reason for people to attend hospital. Teaching of staff in this area is grossly under-represented and staff often feel underqualified to perform essential assessments on these patients. There is evidence that both mental health and acute staff do not understand each other’s respective roles and that delivering joint training can address this.   

The Acute Psychiatric Emergencies (APE) course sought to address this learning need by developing an inter-speciality, inter-trust course between Barts Simulation Team, Barts Health NHS Trust, which provides acute hospital services, and East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), who provide mental health services.  Collaborations such as this are still uncommon in education, and, as well as strengthening links between the two trusts, it was also useful for staff to receive this style of joint learning. The course was aimed at nurses and doctors from all backgrounds to highlight the importance of recognising and assessing the mental health requirements of patients presenting with common psychiatric emergencies, and for teaching the essential knowledge and skills required to perform adequate risk assessments and use of Mental Health Act and The Mental Capacity Act. 

We sought to deliver this training to medical and nursing staff from the emergency department, the RAID (Rapid Assessment, Interface and Discharge) team, and staff working on wards within Newham University Hospital and the Newham Centre for Mental Health. The day was funded as a pilot jointly by Barts Education Academy and ELFT.

A strong theme in the feedback that we received was that staff felt that prior to that day they had received either little or no training to specifically address dealing with those with a primary mental health complaint.


acute psychiatric emergencies; healthcare simulation; medical education; training; mental health

Additional Information

This presentation was given at the Fifth Annual Homerton Simulation Conference: Innovations in Healthcare, Patient Safety and Simulation, Homerton University Hospital, London, UK, on 10 December 2015.
Conflicts of interest: none declared.