The Government has committed to providing more support for NHS mental health crisis response by investing in 100 new mental health ambulances is part of a wider package of crisis response infrastructure worth £150 million over two years. The package of measures is intended to reduce the pressure on the ambulance service and hospital accident and emergency departments.
The ambulances will take specialist staff directly to patients to deliver support on scene or transfer them to the most appropriate place for care. They have been designed to provide a calmer environment, avoiding the bright yellow interior of traditional NHS ambulances and using simple NHS service logos, dimmable lighting and space for family and friends to accompany the patient during assessment.
According to government figures, patients presenting with mental health problems are twice as likely to spend 12 hours or more in emergency departments than other patients.
The remaining £143 million of the fund is being used to provide new and improve existing mental health crisis response infrastructure. This includes schemes such as crisis cafes, crisis houses and crisis hubs. Step-down services, mental health urgent assessment and care centres, crisis line upgrades and improvements to health-based places of safety and emergency department spaces are also being funded.