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Alternative to Emergency Department (A2ED)

The A2ED (Alternative to Emergency Department) is a joint project between Livewell Southwest and Colebrook SW Ltd (Headspace).

A2ED offers an expert assessment to people who urgently require face to face contact with a mental health professional and who might otherwise have attended the Derriford Emergency Department. If a person does not require urgent physical health intervention, they can be referred to A2ED.

We are a small team of specialist mental health practitioners and peer support workers, located on the Derriford hospital site to allow easy access to the service. Our aim is to reduce waiting times for the benefit of both patients, their families and urgent/emergency services.  The environment is calm and welcoming, and we offer a therapeutic approach, guidance and onward referral to services as required.


Opening times

The service is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 17:00 until 01:00 (the last referral time is 22:00).


Who can refer?

Working alongside our colleagues and referrers from First Response in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall and Liaison Psychiatry at Derriford we also accept telephone referrals from the following services:

  • The Emergency Department
  • Ambulance
  • Police/Joint Response Unit
  • 111
  • GPs
  • Headspace crisis cafe

A triage system is in place to provide guidance and support to referrers as sometimes people do not meet the referral criteria for A2ED or require a different treatment pathway.

We cannot accept self-referrals.