100 specialist mental health ambulances to be funded by UK government as part of £150M boost

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The ambulances will start being used over the next several years and will be supplied through government funding

Up to 100 mental health ambulances will be distributed across the UK as part of a £150m investment. The ambulances will be operated by specialist staff to take patients to hospital and provide the care they need.

The new ambulances will be especially equipped to take care of patients with mental health illnesses. They are designed to create a calmer environment for patients.

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This will be done by 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. These new ambulances will be backed by £7 million in government funding.

The government has also announced that the remaining £143m of capital funding will go towards the 150 new projects. It will be invested in providing and improving a range of spaces to support people experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, mental health crises.

Amongst these are new mental health urgent assessment and care centres and the redesign and refurbishment of existing mental health suites and facilities including in emergency departments, creating spaces outside of A&E, and the expansion of crisis lines.

Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said: “With the health systems facing huge challenges this winter from the rise in flu, ongoing Covid cases and the impact of the pandemic, we need to ensure people are still receiving the right specialist care.

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Thousands of ambulance workers have been on strike over pay. PIC: Kirsty O'Connor/PA WireThousands of ambulance workers have been on strike over pay. PIC: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire
Thousands of ambulance workers have been on strike over pay. PIC: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire

“These dedicated facilities will ensure patients experiencing a mental health crisis receive the care they need in an appropriate way, whilst freeing up staff availability including within A&E departments. These schemes – along with the up to 100 new mental health ambulances – will give patients across the country greater access to high-quality, tailored support when needed the most.”

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