The NHS has announce plans to give ambulance staff access to the mental health crisis plans of emergency patients while on the move, following the successful first pilot phase of the National Record Locator.
The launch comes after a successful pilot run, in which initial tests of the new National Record Locator service gave ambulance staff in pilot areas the ability to see whether someone they were treating had a plan, joining up services and resulting in helping patients get the best possible care.
The organisation states that the pilot is now set to expand, with the first full record retrieval taking place in November. Also, an additional three mental health trusts - Somerset Partnership, Mersey Care and Nottinghamshire Healthcare - will be joining the nine trusts already involved with the first phase.
The pilot has so far been a “fabulous” success, explained Mike Walker, head of the Integrating Care programme at NHS Digital.
He went on, “with over 85,000 mental health crisis plan pointers added to the database across the country since last December, so that ambulance staff are less in the dark about the people they’re on their way to help.
“Now we’ve proven that the technology works, it’s time to open it up, to new areas of specialism, new settings: putting the clinical information itself into the hands of those that need it.”
The aim of the service is to help paramedics on the ground to make the right clinical decisions instead of taking the patient to Accident and Emergency units or referring back to other health professionals who have access to the information.
Mike Walker also reminded that “Our ambulance staff do a fantastic job, handling real-life emergencies every single day. Having access to the right information at the right time will mean fewer wasted trips to overstretched A&Es and better care for patients.”
Mental health nurses will also be able to access records when working in the community with the police, to promote joined up service provision and appropriate care.