GPs and other health professionals who refer older people to us for secondary mental health services now have a revised process which aligns to that used for adult mental health services.

The change, which came into effect on Monday 4 January 2021, means referrals for older adults are now handled by our Single Point of Access (SPA) for Adults rather than our Triage for Older People Services (TOPS). The SPA will log the referrals and then pass them on to the appropriate Community Mental Health Team for Older People (CMHTOP) for triage. CMHTOPs will continue to triage all referrals Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm, once they have been forwarded from SPA.

Our Psychiatric Liaison Teams will also have to submit older adult referrals to SPA. But our Older People’s Mental Health wards can continue to refer directly to CMHTOPs.

SPA has, until now, been responsible for managing all working age adult referrals. The integration of TOPS into SPA is in line with the NHS Long Term Plan. It will simplify the referral system for GPs and other health professionals who will have a single point of contact for all adults being referred to our secondary mental health services.

To ensure no referrals are missed through this changeover, the existing TOPS email address will be monitored for referrals until Friday 29 January 2021.  Inadvertent referrals to the TOPS phone number will also be redirected to the SPA until this date.

From 4 January 2021, GPs and other professionals should follow the guidance below when referring older adults to us.

  • GPs should submit referrals to SPA using ERS (Electronic Referral Service)
  • Other health and care professionals should email a referral to:
  • GPs and all other health professionals can call 0300 456 8342 to speak to SPA about a referral

Please note:

  • The process for contacting an on call older adults’ consultant/registrar (after 5pm Mon-Fri and at weekends and on bank holidays) remains the same and people should call Trust switchboard on: 0300 5555 222.
  • This revised process does not affect referrals for Surrey Heath residents which you should continue to send to the Surrey Heath Single Point of Access. Please see the Surrey CMHT OP webpage for details.
  • The response time for urgent, emergency and routine referrals received Mon-Fri between 9am-5pm will be continue to be the same, as detailed below. Referrers should indicate which category a referral falls into.
  1. Response time for emergency referrals within four hours
  2. Response time for urgent referrals within one working day, with appointment for assessment within five working days
  3. Response time for routine referrals within five working days, with appointment for assessment between 4-6 weeks