Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust’s First Response Service has been awarded the Nursing in Mental Health award by the Nursing Times.

The service, which was set up earlier this year, has improved access to urgent and mental health crisis care for people across the district.

First Response offers support 24 hours a day, seven days a week to people of all ages living in Bradford, Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven experiencing a mental health crisis, regardless if they have used services before.

Trained psychological therapists answer a dedicated telephone number and can provide callers with techniques on how to manage their situation. They can arrange for a face to face assessment by a First Responder; a mental health nurse or social worker, who will visit the caller at any time of the day or night, at any location.

First Response works closely with Bradford Council and  can refer and signpost to other services in the area such as The Sanctuary, a calming safe place, provided by Mind and Sharing Voices, which provides practical and emotional support.

The service has made a significant difference to the local management of crisis care, in particular for the emergency services. Intervening early and signposting to the right services has reduced demand on the police, ambulance services and A&E departments.

The service was praised by the Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt MP who visited the team in August. He said: “I am very impressed with the First Response service available across the Bradford district. It is clear that partners are working together to ensure that everyone gets the crisis care they need in the right place, at the right time.”

The team received their award at last night’s annual Nursing Times Awards in London in front of over 1,000 nursing professionals from across the country.

Jenni Middleton, editor of Nursing Times, said: “The nurses who have won this year – and those who are finalists – are smart, innovative and making real changes to the way that patients are cared for.”