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Tech and health partnership supports thousands of people affected by Manchester Arena Attack

Thousands of people affected by the 2017 Manchester Arena Attack received rapid support thanks to a first of its kind partnership between PCMIS and mental health experts at Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust.


The Manchester resilience hub, hosted by Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, was set up following the May 2017 attack. Its role is to reach out to children, young people and adults affected by the attack, to offer screening and co-ordinate any emotional wellbeing and mental health support they may need.

Nearly 3,500 people affected by the attack have received support from the hub. Many had travelled far from home to attend the Ariana Grande concert; some from other European countries and even further afield.

A quick, effective and clinically safe response

Due to the unprecedented number of people needing support, as close to their home as possible, it was essential to have the right technology in place to quickly, effectively and safely cope with a huge amount of complex patient information.

Staff from the hub contacted PCMIS with the aim of utilising their experience working with NHS mental health services, and explained the scope of the project.

Understanding the need to work quickly and accurately, staff from PCMIS built on their existing online patient portal product. Following discussions with the hub’s clinical staff, they added special questionnaires to the portal. These were designed to measure people’s personal reactions to a traumatic event and how their mood and anxiety was impacting on their everyday life.

A co-ordinated, seamless referral flow

With the portal set up and ready to go, after carefully considering data protection implications and sensitivities, people were reached through a co-ordinated awareness campaign designed to encourage them to self-refer online.

Referrals via the online portal flowed automatically into the PCMIS clinical system. People could complete an online screening tool that was scored and categorised by the system.

This allowed hub staff to easily highlight those they were most concerned about and make sure they received the right care and support, close to where they live.

Dr Alan Barrett, consultant clinical psychologist and clinical lead for adults at the hub said “Having used this web-based clinical system for many years within another service, I was aware of the adaptability and reporting capabilities that it offered.

“Following the attack we needed to act quickly to make sure the right clinical support was available to people. We worked with several partners across Greater Manchester to set up the hub and each had their own IT system.

“We needed to choose one system that would best deliver what we needed. The familiar and effective PCMIS system seemed the obvious choice.”

PCMIS director, Byron George, who oversaw the partnership with Pennine Care, said “PCMIS is proud to be involved in supporting the important work being done by the Manchester resilience hub team.

“We are committed to working alongside them to further explore how technology can help facilitate greater care and support for those affected by traumatic, major incidents.”

Nearly two years after the event, staff from Pennine Care’s hub and PCMIS continue to work together to provide ongoing support for those affected by the Manchester Arena Attack. Outreach work is planned for the upcoming second anniversary.

Two years on - sharing lessons learned

The rapid speed at which support was provided and the effective partnership working between lots of Greater Manchester partners has been commended worldwide and now informs major incident response planning by other health organisations.

Staff at the hub continue to share best practice and lessons learned from their experiences setting up and managing large scale support for those affected by major incidents. You can find more information on the Manchester resilience hub here.

If you would like to discuss how PCMIS can support your local care and support response to major incidents, please contact us on enquiries@pcmis.com.

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