Specialist nurses and paramedics to respond together

NHS England has revealed that thousands of Londoners experiencing a mental health crisis will be sent a specialist nurse and a paramedic in a car on blue lights.

The London Ambulance Service scheme aims to treat patients at home, which is often a better environment for those experiencing mental health problems. By collaborating ins response, the specialist ambulance crew is expected to reduce mental health hospital admissions from 58,000 to 30,000 per year.

When an emergency mental health call comes in, the 999 call handlers work alongside a mental health nurse in the control room to decide whether to dispatch the mental health car. Then, at the scene, both clinicians will assess the patient, with the nurse able to assess mental health and provide brief psychological interventions and the paramedic able to assess their physical needs.

Pioneer schemes like the mental health car will be piloted in one STP and then, following a formal evaluation, rolled out across the wider London STPs.

Trisha Bain, Chief Quality Officer at London Ambulance Service, said: “We have now launched our five year strategy aiming to help us improve the speed and quality of care we provide to our patients. Our new mental health scheme is one of several pioneering services we are introducing dedicated to providing specialist care, improving patient experience and preventing unnecessary hospital admissions.”

Claire Murdoch, National Clinical Director for Mental Health at NHS England, added: “As we develop a long term plan for the NHS, it’s imperative we focus on bringing together health and social care professionals, providing a tailored service for patients and making the most of every penny. The London Ambulance mental health nurse and paramedic pioneer scheme is an excellent example of how patients can get more appropriate care closer to home and avoid unnecessary trips to hospital.”

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