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Specialist mental health support team start on Fylde coast

11 December, 2018

Police in Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre have joined forces with medical staff to provide specialist mental health support.

An officer will deploy alongside a paramedic and a mental health crisis team nurse to provide care, in a trial aimed at lessening the need for those in crisis to attend A&E. It is also hoped the initiative will free-up vital police resources.

Blackpool Insp Pete Hannon said: “This is all about being there to support people when they need us. It ensures that the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time.

“A lot of police time is spent responding to mental health callouts. We anticipate that it will divert patients away from A&E, reducing the need for police resources and ultimately providing greater support to those who need it.”

The team will work seven days a week from 4pm until midnight – the times of peak demand for mental health callouts.

Police and Crime Commissioner Clive Grunshaw spent a shift with the team last week. Mr Grunshaw said: “It was really useful to see first-hand the support that this provides to those who need it most, helping those in crisis and often avoiding the need to go to A&E.

“The police are often becoming the emergency service of first resort when people’s lives fall apart, and this response vehicle helps free up police teams quicker and makes them available to attend other incidents.

“This is partnership working in action – the trial is extremely encouraging and shows that by thinking differently and working together, we can deliver the support that people need and deserve whilst also reducing some of the demand that officers face at a time of ever increasing pressures on the service. “

The initiative will run in the area for the next four months as part of a trial.

Simon McCrory, Relationship and Engagement Manager for NWAS said: “This innovative way of collaborative working allows us to deliver the right care, in a timely manner and away from hospital to those who may require specialist assistance.

“Patients suffering from a mental health crisis often need professional support and A&E is not always the most ideal place to manage and resolve their needs. This new multi-agency approach allows us to offer swift support to people with a mental health need by delivering care within the community whilst freeing up vital ambulance, police and A&E resources.”

A spokesperson for Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust added: “We are really pleased to be working in partnership with Lancashire Constabulary and North West Ambulance Service to jointly respond and support people who are in mental health crisis through this pilot in Blackpool.

“This approach will enable us to ensure that people receive the right care at the right time for their needs. We hope that this pilot will change the way that we deliver care to people in Blackpool and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.”

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