The Scottish Ambulance Service has introduced mental health clinical advisers to its ambulance control centres (ACCs), in an initiative that is the first of its kind in Scotland. As part of the project, the advisers support the ACC by speaking with patients who have dialled 999 for mental health issues, with the aim of ensuring they receive the most appropriate care.
There are currently three mental health clinical advisers available on Fridays and Saturdays when the peak number of mental health calls are received. The services says that this may be extended to further shifts in the future.
Their role is to provide a call-back to patients, where they assess them prior to an ambulance arriving to ensure the call is correctly triaged, to see whether hospital admission is the best option, or if there is another pathway, such as speaking with NHS 24’s mental health wellbeing practitioners. The goal, the service says, is to ensure that patients in mental distress receive the right care, in the right place.
Mental Health Paramedic Shaun Johnson is leading on the project. He said, “Our clinicians have a mental health background, having worked as paramedics for our mental health cars in Glasgow, Dundee and Inverness. Their roles make a huge difference, not just to the care of our patients, but to assisting and supporting our ambulance crews.”