Street triage

A 999 call comes in. The man says he is ill, he’s hearing voices and wants to kill someone.

Usually emergency services would be despatched and he’d probably be taken to an already overstretched accident and emergency department. But in Birmingham, the street triage team is sent with a paramedic, police officer and psychiatric nurse on board.

By intervening at this stage, they aim to get the patient appropriate help and ease pressures on A&E – the man has been taken there about half a dozen times already in the last few weeks.

After talking to the team and physical health checks, it’s agreed he’ll remain at home and keep an appointment in the morning.

The initiative set up by the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Trust has reduced the numbers in mental health crisis going to A&Es locally. As part of RAID – Rapid Assessment, Interface and Discharge – psychiatric teams are also based in emergency departments. They aim to see people with psychiatric problems within an hour.


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