The pilot of a mental health-trained paramedic working within the SA Ambulance Service (SAAS) Emergency Operations Centre has saved more than 400 patients a trip to an emergency department (ED).
The initial six-month $125,000 pilot funded by The Hospital Research Foundation Group has seen a 28% ED avoidance rate, with redirected Triple Zero (000) callers provided with alternative, more appropriate, mental health pathway.
At the same time, 7.5% of callers had their ambulance response upgraded, delivering urgent care when needed.
The Hospital Research Foundation Group has now provided a further $48,000 in funding to see the pilot extend until mid October.
Currently the pilot operates 12 hours a day, seven days a week, to provide high-quality mental health assessments over the phone and help identify what kind of care or intervention is necessary. It has assisted over 1400 people in mental health crisis.
Paul Flynn, CEO of The Hospital Research Foundation Group, said the early results were promising.
“Providing expert, real-time support to South Australians calling Triple Zero (000) with a mental health issue has shown to improve care and ease the pressure on other health resources – a win win for the community,” he said.
“We were pleased to top up our funding to allow the pilot to extend beyond its initial completion date of 30 June.”
We look forward to keeping you updated about this important trial.