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Ambulance Service Celebrates Positive Impact of Mental Health Nurses on Time to Talk Day

04 February 2016

As part of Time to Talk Day (Thursday 4 February 2016) Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (YAS) is celebrating improvements in support for mental health patients since specialist mental health nurses began working in their emergency control centre.

The Trust receives an average of 40 mental health related calls every day and the specialist nurses support both call takers and frontline staff by providing advice, helping with decision-making and assessing patients. There are currently five nurses and a team leader providing cover seven days a week.

For patients in mental health crisis, timely and appropriate support is essential. The mental health nurses can clinically assess patients over the phone, ensuring they receive the most appropriate care for them. This does not always mean an ambulance response, and the nurses are able to refer appropriate patients to other services such as crisis teams or GPs, avoiding unnecessary visits to hospital.

Dr Julian Mark, Executive Medical Director at YAS said, “It is so important that we ensure patients receive the right care, in the right place, at the right time, and having mental health nurses in our 999 call centre for the last year has had a really positive impact on this. We want to make sure we are providing the best possible care for our patients and we will continue to expand this initiative so more patients can benefit.”

In December 2015, around 50% of the 1,167 mental health related calls received by the Trust were managed effectively without the need for a hospital visit.

The Trust will be supporting Time to Talk Day internally by encouraging as many staff as possible to spend five minutes with a friend or colleague just simply to ask them how they are.

Dr Julian Mark continued, “As an organisation we officially signed up to the Time to Change programme in 2014 and are committed to making sure that the mental health of both our patients and our staff is taken seriously. We recognise the stresses that our staff face on a daily basis, and Time to Talk Day is a real opportunity for us to demonstrate that we are serious about ending the stigma and discrimination that surrounds mental health.”

Produced By: Corporate Communications Department