Wednesday 23rd April 2014 – 3.30pm – Claire Brown.
A local member of parliament joined a paramedic, police officer and mental health nurse earlier this month to see how a pilot mental health car is helping patients.
James Morris MP accompanied the Birmingham based team on Friday 11th April to attend an incident to see, first-hand, the types of cases they attend and how they help mental health patients. The scheme, launched in January, is a new pilot between West Midlands Ambulance Service, West Midlands Police and Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust.
Robert Cole, the ambulance service’s Head of Clinical Practice – Mental Health, said: “Since its launch on 10th January, the team have dealt with more than 700 incidents. That’s 700 patients that have been given dignified and appropriate mental health care which has significantly improved their patient experience and often avoided the need for the police to detain them in a police cell or for them to attend A&E. As well as being beneficial to mental health patients, the dedicated team means that ambulance crews are freed up from these often complex and protracted cases to respond to other 999 calls. The scheme is a great success and is an excellent example of how partnership working can help patients.”
Mr Morris, who is Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, said: “Last year over a third of people detained by police who appeared to be suffering from mental health disorders and to be in immediate need of care, ended up in police cells and nearly half of deaths in or following police custody were of people with mental health problems. In cases where people’s mental illness is putting themselves or others at risk, it is essential that they are taken to a place of safety but that place should usually be a hospital or somewhere else where they can receive the care that they need. This new street triage scheme is a fantastic initiative that is helping to make sure that people who are very ill are taken to the most appropriate place for their needs.”
Notes to Editor:
Photograph courtesy of MP James Morris office.
Pictured (left to right): MP James Morris, police officer, mental health nurse and Coventry Paramedic Emma Kitson.