The Trust’s Specialist Services Network has been selected to run the scheme which will launch in April 2015. Known as Liaison and Diversion (L&D) the new and extended programme will ensure a range of services are now accessible seven days a week to anyone who enters the criminal justice system with mental health conditions, learning disabilities and other vulnerabilities. It will work as an identification, assessment and referral service to ensure people of all ages are promptly referred to the appropriate health services for the treatment they require. Prior to the Liaison and Diversion scheme, mental health teams were available Monday to Friday for adults only, however the new scheme provides for cover seven days a week and for people of all ages with a wider range of health issues.
Sue Tighe, Network Director for Specialist Services at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We are really pleased to be part of this scheme. For people who are experiencing mental health problems or other vulnerabilities such as issues with substance misuse or learning disabilities, finding themselves in the judicial system can be daunting and cause significant distress. Having members of our teams placed in police stations and courts provides people with access to immediate support to suit their needs.
“Our teams provide the necessary assessments of an individual’s health which in turn assists the police and court staff with their duties in providing up to date information. Having the resources in-house to identify an individual’s healthcare needs means the appropriate treatment and rehabilitation can be provided. In turn, this may also help to reduce the risk of reoffending and improve overall health and wellbeing. Increasing funding to enable this to continue 7 days a week is fantastic and will provide prompt care and support for anyone who requires our assistance.”
The improved access to mental health and other services within police stations and courts forms part of the Trust’s five year plan to provide excellent, high quality care by working with partner organisations such as the police, to ensure people accessing our services receive the best outcomes and have a positive experience whilst in their care. The Trust will also be working closely with partner organisations to signpost individuals to the appropriate care to suit their needs.
Chief Inspector Steve Sansbury from Lancashire Constabulary said:
“The Liaison and Diversion Teams within our police custody suites already provide an invaluable service that assists us in dealing with some very challenging and often vulnerable individuals. The extension of the service to seven days a week and covering all ages, as opposed to just adults, is another stride forward in enhancing our ability to safely and professionally deal with detainees who are arrested and who may have mental health issues or other vulnerabilities. This service assists us in carrying out our role of investigating crime, whilst at the same time referring people into appropriate services, with a view to preventing further re-offending, thereby reducing the risk of crime within our communities."
The Trust is joining the second wave of organisations taking part in the scheme which was originally piloted in April 2014. You can find out more about the Liaison and Diversion programme by visiting www.england.nhs.uk.