Background and Aims

NHS England / Improvement have published a summary of work within London whereby people experiencing a mental health crisis will be sent a specialist blue light mental health car staffed by a mental health nurse and a paramedic instead of a traditional ambulance. 


By responding together, the specialist ambulance crew has an aspiration to reduce mental health hospital admissions from 58,000 to 30,000 per year once rolled out across London.  The scheme is supported by 999 call handlers working with a mental health nurse in the control room to decide whether to dispatch the mental health response car. 

Outcomes and Benefits

According to the London Ambulance website, this work is still in its’ pilot phase with the mental health car responding to 999 calls between 11am and 11pm daily in south east London. In addition to this, mental health nurses have been working in the clinical hubs supporting calls to 111 and 999 by providing specialist advice and support to ambulance crews and patients over the phone.

Additional Information

You can find out more about the work that London Ambulance Service is doing by accessing the NHS case study webpage.

You can find out more information on Mental Health Services in acute trusts by accessing the Care Quality Commission report.

You can read about Mental Health Care in London, which has been published in the London Ambulance Service NHS Trust article.

The aim of the ZSA Case Studies is to introduce users to a range of examples of new and innovative practice, with the broad aim of working to support people with their mental health, bring awareness to and help prevent incidence of suicide. Please seek further information by contacting the ZSA and appropriate professional input prior to making a decision over its use.

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Content last updated: 08/03/2021

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