Health and Police Working Together to Protect Local People With Mental Health Conditions

October 14, 2015

NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has extended funding to a scheme which sets out to reduce the number of people with mental health conditions who are detained in police custody.

The original pilot scheme ran from January to May and has now been extended indefinitely to fund two mental health nurses to work alongside police officers.  This means that when a victim, witness or suspect has been involved in an incident and is known to have a mental health condition or is presenting behaviour of concern, a nurse is able to offer advice and put arrangements in place so that the person can be visited by mental health professionals.

The nurses’ specialist knowledge is also being used to deliver training for police staff to equip them to deal effectively with people they come in to contact with who are displaying symptoms of a mental illness.

Vicky Dutchburn, Head of Strategy, Business Planning & Service Improvement for NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG said “We are fully committed to this scheme and really pleased that through working together with the police we have seen a positive impact on the care of such vulnerable people.  The nurses have access to mental health records and are able to triage mental health calls and incidents effectively.

“In the first quarter of this year we have already had an impact on the care of local people with 105 fewer detentions of people sectioned under the Mental Health Act in Kirklees alone.  This means fewer people with mental health conditions are held in a cell or admitted to A&E when there are more appropriate ways of providing health care for them.”

Sergeant Andrew Lockwood, of Kirklees District, said: “It’s been a real privilege to be involved in this scheme which has attracted nothing but praise from all quarters. It has been received in equal measures from officers on the front line to service users.

“We really aim to focus on the needs of members of the public and then to adapt our service provision based on professional advice from our colleagues in mental health and the feedback of the public. Not only have we been able to make real savings, but by working in partnership we have improved satisfaction of our service users and increased the knowledge and understanding of all staff involved, and I look forward to that continuing.”

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