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27.06.13

Mental health nurses to join police in new pilots

Four sites are to pilot mental health nurses patrolling with police officers to improve responses to mental health emergencies, care minister Norman Lamb has announced.

The street triage scheme is funded by the Department of Health to help people with mental health problems who can sometimes be detained in the wrong environment.

The pilots will take place in North Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, Sussex, and Derbyshire.

Lamb said: “In some areas the police already do an excellent job in terms of their handling of situations involving people with mental health problems and work well with health colleagues to make sure that mentally ill people in crisis get the care and attention they need, but we need to make that the reality everywhere.

“We are launching these pilots to make sure that people with mental health issues get the right care, at the right time and in the right place.

“We know the barriers often lie at the crossroads between police and health services. That is why we are working with the Home Office and leaders of the police to look at how we can improve services for the very vulnerable people involved.”

Policing minister Damian Green said: “All too often the police encounter vulnerable people with mental health issues who need immediate care or longer term support which only the health service can provide.

“As the home secretary announced recently, the rollout of these street triage pilots are a step forward in our on-going work with the Department of Health and police to ensure people with mental health issues are dealt with by the right emergency service.”

Rebecca Cotton, acting deputy director of the NHS Confederation's Mental Health Network, said: "It is hugely important that anyone who's experiencing a mental health crisis gets the treatment and care they need in a timely way. Joined-up working between health services, social care and the police is absolutely crucial to getting this right. The pilot schemes announced today are therefore very welcome.

"By joining the dots to anticipate the needs of individuals and communities, and by planning appropriately, we can ensure people experiencing a mental health crisis get the appropriate, caring response they need at one of the most difficult times of their lives."

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