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A VEHICLE FOR IMPROVED MENTAL HEALTH

Posted on the 28th May 2020

A pilot set up across Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre to provide an emergency response vehicle dedicated to attending to people experiencing a mental health crisis has been deemed a success.

Introduced by a partnership between Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust and Lancashire Constabulary, the pilot named ‘Psynergy’ was set up to provide appropriate care, support and treatment to people in times of urgent need.

Teams of senior mental health nurses, paramedics and police officers come together as to jointly attend mental health related call outs and provide appropriate triage, care and advice.

Patient experience has improved and unnecessary hospital admissions have been avoided by support being provided to enable people to remain in their own homes with the right care.

Since the launch of the pilot at the end of 2018, the Psynergy team has attended over 2,000 incidents - 964 of these only needed advice at the point of contact.

Laura Barnes, Interim Care Group Manager at Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Mental health services and hospitals are facing unprecedented pressure during the coronavirus pandemic, so the need to provide the right support, in the right place at the right time is now more important than ever.

“The Psynergy pilot has proven to be highly effective at improving patient outcomes and reducing hospital admissions. It’s an excellent example of how care is enhanced when different partners work together through an integrated approach.”

The team responds to call outs seven days a week, between 4pm and midnight, which is the peak time for mental health emergencies. As part of the triage process, they ensure the right support for the patient is identified and initiated swiftly.

Peter Hannon, Police Inspector at Lancashire Constabulary said:

“The pilot has been extremely successful in reducing the demand placed on us all, particularly during this challenging period.

“However the real benefits are those afforded to the vulnerable members of our community who are now able to receive face to face support from suitably trained officers at the immediate point of need.”

Mark Lewis, Operations Manager at North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust added:

“The Psynergy team are able to rapidly assess patient needs - if they need treatment at hospital then that is provided without delay, but for so many we have exactly the right professionals on the vehicle to help them right where they are.”

The full extent of the success of the pilot is currently being evaluated and plans are in place to develop a roll out of the initiative across Lancashire and South Cumbria.