Mental health response car in Essex to ease pressure on A&E
Health / Fri 19th May 2023 at 09:33am
A DEDICATED ambulance response car for mental health emergencies has been launched by the NHS in Essex reports the BBC.
The vehicle is staffed by an East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) clinician and a mental health nurse from the Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust (EPUT).
It is the first of its kind for mid and south Essex and follows a similar rollout in Norfolk in 2021.
The NHS said the team could triage patients to mental health services.
Dan Phillips, interim deputy clinical director and consultant paramedic for the EEAST, said: “This will also have the secondary benefit of freeing up ambulance crews faster and reducing pressure on emergency departments.”
The car could be dispatched typically after a 999 call to the control centre.
The NHS said the dedicated team would be ready for callouts between 13:00 and 01:00 seven days per week.
Alex Green, chief operating officer at EPUT, said: “I’m really pleased to be working with our partners to launch such a vital service for people experiencing mental health crisis.”
Good luck with finding a bed in a psychiatric ward for an acutely ill patient. As the Guardian newspaper reported last year: "While private sector beds increased from 9,291 in 2010 to 10,123 in 2021, the number of mental health beds in the NHS dropped from 23,447 to 17,610 – a fall of 5,837." See article https://www.theguardian.com/society/2022/apr/24/nhs-paying-2bn-pounds-a-year-to-private-hospitals-for-mental-health-patients
Great news! Essex: 1,300 square miles. Three cities. Ten districts. Population 1.5 million. Acute shortage of mental health beds. And one response team. Hmm...