New Bedford mental health initiative praised by NHS England

The elderly woman died at the scene, despite the efforts of members of the public and paramedics
The elderly woman died at the scene, despite the efforts of members of the public and paramedics

Bedfordshire’s Mental Health Street Triage team has been praised by NHS England, following a visit to the team shortly after its launch.

Vince Treece from NHS England, who oversees Mental Health Street Triage projects across the UK, visited the team in July to find out more about the work they have been doing in the county.

The scheme sees a police officer, paramedic and mental health professional team up in one car to respond to mental health crisis calls. They will cover the whole county, operating from 3.00pm – 1.00am, with bases at Police Headquarters in Kempston and at Luton Police Station.

The team will attend incidents where there is an immediate threat to life – for example, someone threatening to self-harm or where a third party has called the police or ambulance and expressed concern for someone.

The team has a dedicated phone and can be referred to incidents by police and ambulance control rooms.

Following his visit Mr Treece, said: “The overall experience was one of great positivity, and the team should all be proud of their efforts to put together the service that is in place.”

Chief Inspector Jaki Whittred from Bedfordshire Police, said: “The team are providing a really important service to some of Bedfordshire’s most vulnerable residents and it’s fantastic to have such positive comments from Vince.”

Robert Labe from the Samaritans, said: “Samaritans welcomes being a partner with Mind-BLMK and our statutory colleagues for this initiative. Samaritans provide a 24/7 service for those in emotional or mental health crisis or who have suicidal thoughts and provides a pathway for the Mental Health Street Triage Team to access our services.”