Police and mental health staff team up

Jo Horsley from Nottingham Health Care NHS Trust, Inspector Andy Clarke, ACC Simon Torr and Chief Inspector Linda McCarthy.
Jo Horsley from Nottingham Health Care NHS Trust, Inspector Andy Clarke, ACC Simon Torr and Chief Inspector Linda McCarthy.

A new scheme is being launched by police and health chiefs to provide better care for people with mental health issues and learning disabilities in emergency situations.

The Street Triage scheme will see specially-trained mental health nurses from Nottinghamshire Healthcare join police officers on callouts throughout Nottinghamshire.

This will mean that vulnerable individuals will be steered away from the criminal justice system, into a more appropriate care setting such as community mental health treatment services and learning disability support.

Prof Mike Cooke CBE, chief executive at Nottinghamshire Healthcare, said: “When the police attend an incident with a vulnerable person requiring support from mental health services, our staff will now be able to assess the person there and then, rather than in a police or health setting.”

Street Triage will cut demand on police time and reduce the number of citizens being arrested or taken to a 136 Suite - a place of safety for people requiring a psychiatric assessment - or to A&E.

Chief Insp Linda McCarthy said: “Police are frequently called to attend incidents where the mental health of one or more individuals involved is an underlying factor.

“The Street Triage brings together health care professionals and the police so that at the first point of contact, an assessment can be made and the right action can be taken for the individual concerned.”

It is hoped that making the right decision at the scene will result in better outcomes for vulnerable individuals by avoiding unnecessary detention under mental health laws.

Nottinghamshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “This will help to safeguard people’s dignity and rights by providing localised, effective treatment in an appropriate setting. This will widen the choices so that the solution is not just a choice of arrest or hospital.”

NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Nottingham City, Nottingham North and East, Rushcliffe, Nottingham West, Newark and Sherwood, Mansfield and Ashfield, and Bassetlaw are jointly commissioning the service across the City and County which has been developed by Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, Nottinghamshire Police, Nottingham City Council, Nottinghamshire County Council, the Nottinghamshire Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner and the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Teresa Cope, director of quality and delivery at NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group added: “We have commissioned this service to radically improve the way we support those with mental health problems and learning disabilities, especially those who are picked up in public needing help and support rather than policing intervention.”