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Nurses set to join police on emergency call-outs
A TOTAL OF £200,000 is to be spent so nurses can join Oxfordshire police officers on call-outs for people with mental health problems.
It is hoped that the nurses will be able to help in cases where individuals have mental health problems.
Seven forces around the country including Thames Valley Police have been chosen to test out the Department for Health street triage plan.
Oxfordshire is the only area in Thames Valley where the scheme is being trialled, and if succesful it will be rolled out elsewhere.
Nurses will join foot patrols, assist on emergency calls and sit in control rooms, with the aim of improving the way people with mental health problems are treated during emergencies.
Initial reports from earlier trials show that it can help avoid unnecessary arrests and reduce the demands on valuable police time.
Thames Valley Police Assistant Chief Constable Richard Bennett, who has responsibility for neighbourhood policing and partnerships, said: “I welcome the launch of this pilot scheme.
“It is of vital importance that we continue to work closely with our partners in both health and social services to ensure people with mental health and learning disability needs get the help and support they require as quickly as possible. A custodial setting is often not appropriate for someone with complex mental health needs and the police are often not the best agency to provide the help that is needed.
“I believe this pilot scheme will help to ensure that people get swift support from trained medical professionals, who have access to the appropriate treatment and expert services they require.”
Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust said some of the details for the scheme, being funded by the Department for Health, were still being worked out. No start date has been set, but it is expected to be before the end of the year.
The trust, which may be about to cut 50 jobs itself, could not yet say how many nurses would be on-call across Oxfordshire.
Other forces trialling the scheme include the Metropolitan Police and British Transport Police.
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “Making sure people with mental health problems get the right assessment, care and treatment they need as quickly as possible is really important, especially in emergency situations.”
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