Thanks to your support, a dedicated senior mental health lead is now in post at South Western Ambulance Service to improve services for mental health patients, helping to tackle an expected 30% rise in mental health issues due to the impact of the pandemic.
The post was funded thanks to a £563,000 grant from NHS Charities Together to South Western Ambulance Charity for a range of projects to support their ambulance service including awareness and training sessions, specialist equipment, such as lifting chairs and observation equipment, and dedicated community first responder group cars to enable wider reach and swifter response times.
Matthew Truscott, a psychiatric nurse by background, joins South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust on secondment from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, and will lead the development of service improvements for patients with mental health issues.
Matthew will work with providers, commissioners, patients, and the public to develop new and better ways to treat patients who are experiencing a mental health crisis, as well as developing bids to attract further funding to support bespoke mental health ambulances and resources.
He will also lead on developing training packages and updating clinical guidelines for frontline ambulance clinicians, to better equip them in dealing with patients with mental health issues.
Since joining the Trust, Matthew has already helped to develop the Trust’s Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire street triage response, to allow allocation to South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust related incidents, which was historically only available to the police.
“The provision of care to patients suffering mental health crisis is as important as the provision of care to those suffering a physical crisis. South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are committed to working with and supporting health and social care partners in developing services to better meet the needs of patients who make contact with us following a mental health crisis.
“I am delighted to have joined South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust as the voice of mental health and hope that my role will help to push NHS mental health provision up the agenda.
“Since starting my role, I have seen first-hand the issues faced by those with mental health issues when joining our crews third manning as a clinician and have gained a better understanding as to how we can improve mental health pathways for our patients.
“I hope that the success of these services will showcase just how important they are and that further funding will become available in the near future to bolster the support we can offer to our patients.”
Support our work
With the impact of Covid-19 on the NHS workforce, the threat of a third wave, and services that are busier than ever, NHS Charities Together needs to continue to be there for the NHS and wider communities, which is why we need your support to continue funding this vital work.
We have so far allocated £125 million in a range of projects supporting staff, patients and volunteers.
Working with a network of 240 NHS member charities covering the UK, grants have been awarded for projects that include counselling services and helplines to support the mental health of staff, bereavement support for families who have lost loved ones, long-Covid research, funding thousands of emergency volunteers and support in the community. Funding has also supported staff with practical needs like food, drink and a place to rest, enabling staff to continue with their vital life-saving work.
Together, we can continue making an impact where it’s needed most.