Mental Health - Adult Crisis and Acute Care

Mental health problems are the largest single cause of disability in the UK, with one in four adults experiencing at least one diagnosable mental health problem in any given year.

Adult crisis and acute mental health services encompass the care, treatment and rehabilitation of adults with severe mental illness as part of wider health and social system responses. The services cover both urgent and emergency care and planned care.

The GIRFT national report presents 17 recommendations to improve services and reduce variation. A key focus is on developing well-managed patient flows through the crisis pathway and between services, to ensuring people receive the right treatment at the right time. These measures can help to significantly reduce the risk of people reaching severe or crisis state, as well as reducing the number of people needing inpatient admission.  

Dr Ian Davidson

Mental Health – Adult Crisis and Acute Care Clinical Lead

Dr Ian Davidson is a consultant general adult psychiatrist at Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust with extensive experience of community and inpatient general psychiatry. He has been a medical director, deputy chief executive and interim chief executive, among other leadership and management roles.

He has held a variety of regional and national roles and has a background in research, education and national quality and improvement services. He has also contributed to national policies, always alongside continuing clinical roles.

Dr Davidson has presented nationally and internationally on a range of topics, including care pathway development and evaluation. He has contributed as an external expert to a wide range of serious untoward incident reviews and service reviews.

Dr Davidson’s service development work has included helping design and commission a new hospital and procuring and implementing clinical IT systems, as well as care pathways. He has been, and remains,  a long term advocate for ensuring that people who access services, deliver services or are affected by services are able to help shape and review services through their development.

Useful resources

Working developments (June 2023)

We are actively working with trusts, ICBs, regions (e.g., London, North West and East of England) and other national teams to ensure the whole pathway links up to deliver timely, effective interventions to all sections of the community. This includes from access and elective community interventions, to preventing & reducing the number of people needing to be in crisis to be ‘heard’, whilst improving the options available for those who do reach crisis point, and for those for whom timely inpatient care and treatment is necessary and the right therapeutic option.

We are offering data informed support to systems in improving care pathways, including reducing long lengths of stay and therefore reducing bed occupancy; hence reducing need for long term beds of any type and reducing out of area bed usage.

For more information or to request support from the GIRFT team please contact workstream delivery manager Suzannah at

  • Adult crisis and acute mental health care pathway overview – view
  • Clinical decision making and risk management – view
  • Agreeing purpose of admission and expected date of discharge (example) – view


GIRFT national report for mental health crisis and acute care focuses on reducing barriers to access

Providing the right treatment at the right time reduces the risk of people reaching severe or crisis state, says a new national report into adult mental health. 

The Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) programme’s latest national report has reviewed adult crisis and acute mental health care, looking at how services are delivered and who is delivering them with the aim of ensuring that patients receive the appropriate level of treatment in a timely way to avoid mental health conditions becoming more chronic and difficult to treat.   

Mental health care is overwhelmingly community based, playing a crucial role in delivering mental health care for adults as close to home as possible. Further recommendations call for improvements to data collection methods to support trusts in being able to identify the most vulnerable in their population – and target resources and interventions to improve equality of access.

Find out more about GIRFT’s data-led approach and best practice resources:

In April 2021, GIRFT published its national speciality report for Mental Health – Adult Crisis and Acute Care:

Click above to view the pdf report (via Future NHS)

Watch the video about the Mental Health – Adult Crisis and Acute Care report…

Click above to play the Mental Health Adult Crisis and Acute Care national report video