As part of an ongoing review of how mental health services are accessed across the Pennine, teams from both Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and Lancashire Police have joined forces to pilot a new service.
The new service, referred to as the Street Triage Team, will see mental health clinicians and police officers join forces and work together so they can respond appropriately to people who have contacted the police and are in mental health crisis.
The new team and service, which will launch on January 12 2022, will be based at The Mount, Accrington, and will consist of four police officers and six mental health nurses, all of which will have undertaken training in mental health triage, as well as risk assessment and safety training.
The Street Triage team will work in pairs – with one clinician and one officer on duty – seven days a week, between 09:30 – 03:00 hours each day. The team will travel in a specially adapted, unmarked car and will attend and perform a face-to-face assessment to determine what support is needed. If the team feel the person has further mental health or psychological needs to be addressed, they will refer them to the most appropriate service.
The person will also be given information about who to contact if they need further support. Their GP will also be contacted to make them aware that their patient has had a crisis intervention.
Steve Christian, Chief Integration Officer at Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust said: “This Street Triage team pilot is an exciting part of wider developments to our services across the Pennine locality. We are working closely with our partners to make sure there are easy, clear pathways in place for people in need of ongoing mental health support and assessment.”
PS Andrew McGinty, Mental Health & Dementia Co-ordinator from Lancashire Police said: “Increasingly, we as a police force across Lancashire are faced with complex situations where people are contacting us and are in mental health crisis, who are potentially putting themselves at risk of harming themselves or others around them.
“By launching this new service we will not only be able to support people in crisis more effectively, making sure they can access the most appropriate care and support at the right time and place, but also protect the people around them and our team who come into contact with them.”
The pilot follows a successful Street Triage team working across South Cumbria and will be reviewed as part of an ongoing process.
Dr Rakesh Sharma, Clinical Lead GP for Mental Health in Pennine CCG said: "The launch of the Street Triage Team is a significant addition to the support we can offer to our population suffering with mental health difficulties. The Mental Health nurses working alongside Police Officers will enable early help to people who need it the most and for them to be directed to the best support services available."