Exploring the developmental need for a paramedic pathway to mental health


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.

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