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Bevan Exemplar Cohort 8 Projects

Ambulance response to People in Mental Health Crisis

Mark Jones, Simon Amphlett and Steve Clarke

Welsh Ambulance Services Trust

There are around 100,000 mental health crises in Wales every year. Most are managed by people by themselves, their friends/families, the voluntary sector, primary care and others. Estimates suggest that mental health calls to ambulance services in the UK comprise around 10% of their total demand, many of which will end in an ED visit.

WAST has mental health practitioners working remotely to support 999 crisis callers which is proving to be highly effective in resolving crises. However, some people require face to face input because the risk to the person is too high, or remote assessment is not possible. This project aims to test the feasibility of rapid, face to face mental health response.

The pilot will be undertaken in one area within one health board, in close partnership with service users, the health board, the police service, primary care, the voluntary sector and other partners. The precise staffing model is currently under consideration, but is likely to comprise a mental health professional and a paramedic or technician working in a Rapid Response Vehicle. They will respond to 999 calls that are not amenable to remote assessment and intervention and require a face-to-face. In other areas this has been proven to reduce demand for traditional ambulance services, and reduce demand on Emergency Departments. It will also have an impact on police mental health demand and will improve outcomes and experience for people who use the service.

Hear Steve Clarke talk about his project: