• Exploring the developmental need for a paramedic pathway to mental health

      Elliott, Ruth; Brown, Paul (2013-05)
      Abstract published with permission. The following article discusses an organisational development need of a national ‘Mental Health Pathway’ to enable paramedics to provide the appropriate care for people who present mental health issues. The Department of Health acknowledges the huge modernisation of the ambulance service in England and faster access to people with immediate life-threatening conditions; however, the service is also responding to an increasing number of patients who have an urgent primary care need, which includes mental distress, as opposed to clinical emergency. The Department of Health (2009) policy calls for a ‘new vision’, where the ambulance service could increase efficiency and effectiveness towards patients who are experiencing non life-threatening emergencies. The key aims are to form a programme of advancement to address both improving mental health and accessibility of services for people with poor mental health. The vision of the policy is that by 2020 mental and physical health will have equal priority. The development of a mental health pathway within the ambulance service may help to reduce admissions or re-attendance, while improving care for patients. An evidence-based approach is used to provide a balanced, logical and supported argument within a reflection of practice. This is evaluated against a hypothetical patient’s case study, which reflects common issues faced by paramedics and ambulance technicians. The analytical process considers patient, professional, organisational and multi-disciplinary team perspectives.
    • An investigation into suicide amongst ambulance service staff

      Hird, Kelly; Bell, Fiona; Mars, Becky; James, Catheryn; Gunnell, David (2019-01-14)
      Background In 2015, Ambulance Service Medical Directors raised concerns regarding a perceived increase in suicide deaths among ambulance service staff. The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) then commissioned a research study to investigate these concerns and provide recommendations towards a suicide prevention strategy. The aim of this study was to determine whether staff who work in the UK ambulance services (AS) are at higher risk of suicide than staff who work in other professions. Methods Data was requested from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) regarding AS staff suicide. Eighteen AS were invited to return data on Occupational Health (OH). AS in England and Wales (n=11) were also asked to return data on staff suicides. Coroners were contacted to request permission to review the records of the deaths. Results The ONS analysis of occupational suicide risk between 2011 and 2015 indicated that there were 20 suicide deaths amongst paramedics in England during that period. The risk of suicide amongst male paramedics was 75% higher than the national average. Over a 2 year period, 8 AS trusts identified 15 staff suicides (11 male, 4 female). The mean age of those dying by suicide was 42 years. Findings from coroners’ records indicated that the predominant suicide method used was hanging (66.7%). Conclusions The following recommendations have been accepted by the AACE: a) Develop a mental health strategy for all staff which includes specific emphasis on suicide prevention b) Review and assess suicide risk at times of increased vulnerability c) Collect and monitor data on AS suicides d) Review occupational health, counselling and support services e) Training for staff in identifying and responding to a colleague in distress f) Return to work discussions should consider and establish the status of an individual’s mental health and wellbeing. https://emj.bmj.com/content/36/1/e3.1. This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/ DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2019-999.6
    • Pilot evaluation of utilising mental health nurses in the management of ambulance service patients with mental health problems

      Irving, Andy; O'Hara, Rachel; Johnson, Maxine; Harris, Angela; Baker, Kieran (2016-09)
      Background The urgent and emergency care review advocates new models of care to provide safer, faster and better care. Available evidence highlights scope for improvement in the delivery of care for patients calling 999 with mental health problems. The purpose of this abstract is to describe an ongoing initiative in Yorkshire Ambulance Service utilising specialist triage by mental health nurses in the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) since December 2014. Methods An exploratory mixed methods evaluation was conducted. Interviews (n=12) with key stakeholders in the ambulance service were conducted to explore their experiences of service provision for patients with mental health problems and the impact of introducing Mental Health Nurse triage in the EOC. Interview data was coded and thematically analysed to identify key issues around service delivery for patients with mental health problems. Routine data from ambulance service computer aided dispatch was used to examine impact on patient care and resource allocation. Results Initial findings indicate that access to mental health nurses in the EOC reduced the ambulance response rate by clinically triaging calls for patients with mental health problems and only sending a resource where appropriate. Staff interviews revealed the developmental process and challenges involved in implementing the mental health triage initiative, for example, recruitment, training and governance. Staff perceptions of the initial positive impact of the mental health nurses include the delivery of more appropriate patient care and reduced anxiety for staff managing calls that now have access to specialist support. Conclusions Despite the relatively short time period since the inception of this initiative, the preliminary findings from this pilot evaluation suggest a positive impact on service delivery from a patient and organisational perspective. Lessons learned from the implementation of this initiative and its progression are potentially informative for other Ambulance Service Trusts considering adopting a similar approach. https://emj.bmj.com/content/emermed/33/9/677.2.full.pdf This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0 http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/emermed-2016-206139.2
    • Suicide among ambulance service staff: a review of coroner and employment records

      Mars, Becky; Hird, Kelly; Bell, Fiona; James, Cathryn; Gunnell, David (2020-03-01)
      Background: There is growing evidence to suggest that ambulance service staff may be at increased risk for suicide; however, few studies have explored risk factors within this occupational group. Aim: To investigate factors commonly associated with ambulance staff suicides. Method: Eleven ambulance service trusts across the United Kingdom were asked to return details of staff suicides occurring between January 2014 and December 2015. Coroners were then contacted to request permission to review the records of the deceased. Results: Fifteen suicides were identified (73% male, mean age 42 years). Inquest data were available on 12 deaths. The most common method used was hanging. Possible risk factors identified included recent return to work following a period of sickness absence, poor mental health, relationship and debt problems, history of self-harm and the loss of a driving licence/change in job role. Conclusion: Identifying characteristics of suicide among this high-risk group is important to inform the development of suicide prevention initiatives. Additional research is needed with an adequate control group to further explore the risk factors identified in this study. This abstract has been published with permission