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10 February 2017
An initiative to ensure patients experiencing a mental health crisis have fast access to care has been shortlisted for a national award.
The Mental Health Street Triage team, which is based across Bedfordshire and Luton, is in the running for a prestigious Health Service Journal (HSJ) Value in Healthcare award. The team is just one of eight in the shortlist, whittled down from 1,500 entries, and winners will be announced at a glittering ceremony at Grosvenor House in London on 24 May.
The multi-agency scheme involves a police officer, paramedic and mental health professional teaming up in one car to respond to mental health crisis calls 365 days a year. They cover the whole county, operating from 3pm – 1am, with bases at police headquarters in Kempston and at Luton Police Station.
The team attend incidents where there is an immediate threat to life – someone threatening to self-harm, or commit suicide – or where a third party has called the police or ambulance and expressed concern for someone.
Police and ambulance control rooms contact the team direct and signpost them to incidents.
The pilot project was launched in July 2016 and is shortlisted in the mental health category of the awards.
Bedfordshire Mental Health Street Triage is a partnership between East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT), Bedfordshire Police, East of England Ambulance Trust, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, Luton Clinical Commissioning Group and mental health charities Mind BLMK and the Samaritans.
Gail Dearing, ELFT’s Bedfordshire Mental Health Street Triage lead, said: “The focus of the street triage partners is to make sure people experiencing a mental health crisis get the right care at the earliest possible opportunity.
“We are delighted that our efforts to provide a proactive frontline mental health service has been recognised. This nomination is testament to the dedication of the triage staff and the teams working behind the scenes who provide invaluable support.”
Chief Inspector Jaki Whittred from Bedfordshire Police said: “The Mental Health Street Triage team are continuing to work incredibly hard to ensure patients across the county are accessing appropriate care. I am really proud that the scheme has been shortlisted for this prestigious award, and that the partnership working between all agencies involved is being recognised nationally.”
Lisa Merkitt from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust (EEAST) said: "It is a privilege to be nominated for such a prestigious award and the team are immensely proud that we have been nationally recognised for all of our hard work. The Mental Health Street Triage team work tirelessly to provide an invaluable and innovative service to patients across Bedfordshire ensuring they receive the appropriate care in emergency situations. I am extremely proud to be a part of this project and look forward to the scheme becoming an integral part of emergency care across the county."
Matthew Tait, Accountable Officer, from Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) said: “We are delighted that this excellent example of partnership working has once again been recognised for its innovative approach. Putting the patient at the heart of our decisions is key to the BCCG. This scheme is making a positive difference to those who experience a mental health crisis, ensuring they receive the most appropriate care as quickly as possible and is testament to the dedication of the teams working together to deliver this.”
Robert Labe from Bedford Samaritans said: "The Mental Health Street Triage service has demonstrated how, with the right support and by adopting a partnership and multi-agency approach, a real impact can be made on supporting people with mental health problems and those with suicidal thoughts at the time it is needed and also longer term. Everyone involved has shown dedication and enthusiasm for the Mental Health Street Triage service and has wanted it to be a success."