Mersey Care runs separate mental health triage cars in partnership with Merseyside Police, North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and British Transport Police (BTP) across Liverpool and Sefton.

The NWAS triage car was commissioned in 2019 on a six months pilot and recommissioned in April 2020. It works on a partnership model combining the physical skills of NWAS and the mental health expertise of Mersey Care. It covers self harm, suicidality and other forms of psychosis.

There are three street cars, two of which operate alongside Merseyside Police and the other with Cheshire Police, and two cars with British Transport Police, which cover the West Coast Line. There is also one mental health response vehicle with NWAS, while a second vehicle is being planned for the start of 2024.

Each car contains Mersey Care registered mental health practitioners and representatives from NWAS, Merseyside Police or British Transport Police. The service has evolved over this time and the cars respond to reactive requests for assistance but also proactive visits to high risk areas.

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The triage car service helps reduce the strain on emergency service teams, who traditionally attend Section 136 interventions - the section of the Mental Health Act which gives police the power to take someone to a place of safety from a public place or their home.

Previously they would escort someone experiencing a mental health crisis to a busy Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. This service and the newly established Urgent Care Hub enable services to offer alternative support and less restrictive plans can be put in place, including assessment without detaining, escorting service users to our bespoke fit for purpose clinical decision units or supporting assessments within the community.

This partnership model has provided a big benefit to all organisations, including a reduction in presentations to A&E and other mental health services and reduces pressure on other services such as transport services where people may tend to go when in distress.