Skip to main content

New electric vehicles to help patients in mental health need

Date: 16 May 2024

The East of England Ambulance Service (EEAST) is introducing new electric vehicles to better support patients in mental health crisis.

Photo of members of EEAST’s mental health team and mental health vehicles

The new Mental Health Response Vehicles (MHRVs) are designed for patients in mental health distress.

Fewer fluorescent markings on the vehicles and a less clinical interior helps put patients in mental health crisis at ease.

Paul Gates, Deputy Clinical Director for EEAST said:

“The three new vehicles we have received are the first of twelve that will increase capacity for EEAST, ensuring patients with urgent and emergency mental health needs get specialist mental health care and support. These vehicles are designed to have soothing lighting and a comfortable interior that can help calm people experiencing mental health crisis.”

Over the next four months, the three vehicles will be rolled out across Norfolk and Waveney and mid and south Essex.

Funding for the vehicles follows successful pilots at EEAST of mental health response cars in partnership with its mental health providers.

In mid and south Essex, a pilot of mental health response cars in 2023/24 responded to 1,852 patients experiencing mental health crisis. In 82% of these cases the intervention resulted in the patient not requiring transport to an Emergency Department.

Successful pilots have also been run in Norfolk and Waveney and Suffolk and north-east Essex.

CountyPatient contactsNon-conveyance rateDate started
Norfolk and Waveney282990%November 2021
Suffolk and north-east Essex1,03292%March 2023
Mid and south Essex185282%2023/24

Alfred Bandakpara, Deputy Director for Mental Health at NHS Mid and South Essex, said:

“When at breaking point, it is essential to make sure people get the right care, quickly, from the right people.

"I am delighted that we are able to build on and strengthen existing mental health crisis support services through investment in these new vehicles.

"Thanks to the hard work of all those involved, we will continue improve the patient experience and make a real difference in our communities.”

Each MHRV will provide 12-hour coverage, based on peak times of demand and will respond to urgent and emergency mental health calls that come via 999 to the police or ambulance service.

The vehicles can respond to a range of incidents as they carry all the equipment for serious life-threatening emergencies.

East of England Ambulance Service image above the footer