Thursday 9th January 2014 – 11.45am – Claire Brown.
Paramedics, police and nurses will be joining forces from tomorrow to ensure people with mental health issues receive the right treatment and care in Birmingham and Solihull.
West Midlands Police is one of a number to be selected by the Department of Health to pilot the ‘street triage’ scheme, which sees mental health nurses and paramedics accompany police officers to incidents where it’s believed people need immediate mental health support. The scheme is being supported by paramedics from West Midlands Ambulance Service and nurses from Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust.
A dedicated car will be operating everyday throughout the Birmingham and Solihull area from tomorrow (Friday 10 January) and will involve police officers, nurses and paramedics working together to ensure people who need mental health care get the right support and at the same time reduce demand on the emergency services.
The pilot follows in the footsteps of other schemes that have taken place elsewhere in the country and have already shown that it can help to keep people out of custodial settings and reduce the demands on valuable police and ambulance time.
Dr Andy Carson, West Midlands Ambulance Service’s Medical Director said: “This is a fantastic and exciting opportunity for the Trust to work alongside partners to ensure the highest quality of care is delivered to some of the most vulnerable people from within our community. We welcome this opportunity and firmly believe this will ensure mental health provision will be amongst the best in the country.”
Chief Inspector Sean Russell, from West Midlands Police, said: “In emergency situations we want to make sure that people with mental health problems are correctly assessed, cared for and treated as quickly as possible. Officers are already trained to deal with these kinds but this additional support from health professionals will help officers to treat vulnerable people in emergencies. By having partners on hand we will also be able to reduce demand on valuable police and A&E resources and be able to provide a more effective service to the people of the West Midlands.”
John Short, Chief Executive at Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are looking forward to working more closely with our police and ambulance service colleagues to ensure that people in urgent need of mental health care receive the most appropriate support. This pilot will not only support people in crisis, but it will also help to further strengthen our relationship with West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service for the benefit of our local population.”
On January 23 a free conference to support the national development of place of safety and the street triage scheme is taking place in Birmingham. The conference, being held at the Tally Ho Conference Centre from 9.30am to 3pm will discuss how the place of safety was established and the process for developing street triage.
For more information visit http://www.bsmhft.nhs.uk/service-user-and-carer/local-groups-and-events/trust-events/?entryid5=34826. To book your place email firstname.lastname@example.org call 0121 301 2165.
See the BBC’s “The One Show” coverage of the scheme here:
Notes to Editors: Photographs courtesy of West Midlands Police