The Specialist Triage Assessment Referral and Treatment Team (START) provides timely triage, assessment, onward referral/signposting and treatment for service users referred without the need for multiple assessments. 

The team screens and assesses the needs of all referrals and signposts on to other services, creating a seamless and timely care pathway. The team provide functions which include ongoing assessment, brief interventions and a case management function for some service users.

Through START all referring Lancashire GPs will have access to consultant opinion for advice, guidance and assessment following an initial screening. 

The START team comprises of:

  • Consultant Psychiatrists and other medical staff
  • Mental Health Practitioners
  • Nurses
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists input
  • Occupational therapy input
  • Administrative staff

How to access the service

We accept referrals from a range of sources including:

  • GPs and other primary care health professionals
  • Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH)
  • Mindsmatter services
  • Community Restart Team
  • Carer of patient relative
  • Self-referral including self-presentation
  • Other professionals such as health visitors and social workers
  • Probation Service
  • Third party and voluntary organisations

Out of hours

START operates core hours between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday during a standard working week. 

After 4.30pm and out of hours, the home treatment practitioner will act as the duty START practitioner.

When a person contacts the team out of hours in need of help, the practitioner will support the person as follows:

  • Triage of all referrals, gather additional information as required and decide on the most appropriate pathway
  • Telephone advice and support will be offered if there is no clear or immediate risk to self or others identified 
  • Face to face assessment may be offered or signposted. Where local resources make it possible, this assessment will be offered during the out of hours period
  • Where an out of hours face to face assessment is either not available or not required an assessment/referral will be passed to the appropriate team. This referral will be made as soon as practical and ideally before the end of the practitioner’s shift
  • When service users present in crisis and express the concern that they do not feel able to keep themselves safe and no face to face assessment is available the practitioner should advise the service user or carers to call emergency services or to present themselves to A&E.