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St John Ambulance Cymru lifts pressure off Wales’ mental health services

St John Ambulance Cymru are working with the Welsh Ambulance Commissioner to provide quicker transportation for mental health patients in Welsh communities.

St John Ambulance Cymru’s Taith Dda scheme has been commissioned as a pilot by the Ambulance Commissioner since April 2023. The scheme aims to provide a transport service for those in Mental Health Crisis with the aim of reducing waiting times for conveyance and improving both staff and patient experiences.

The Scheme has meant that a reduced number of non-critical patients are having to be transported by the police, the Welsh Ambulance NHS Services Trust and by local Approved Mental Health Professionals; lifting significant pressure from these vital services.

The pilot is operating across Wales and provides a mix of day and night support. Transport requests come via health board staff and requests are prioritised by crisis teams to optimise St John Ambulance Cymru’s resources.

St John Ambulance Cymru assists with transporting patients between hospitals, from their home to hospital and vice versa. Calls are checked to ensure they are suitable for St John Ambulance Cymru transport and to ensure a police or ambulance response is not more appropriate.

Helen Coulthard, Head of Ambulance Operations at St John Ambulance Cymru said: I am so proud that we are able to support the Taith Dda Mental Health response service in collaboration with the Welsh Ambulance Commissioner. 

By reducing transportation time for individuals requiring mental health support, we enable them to receive a more timely intervention at such a critical time. By doing so, we hope that this support contributes positively to their recovery journey.”

St John Ambulance Cymru looks forward to improving the service further and has recently partnered with various mental health charities to help educate staff about different mental health conditions.