A new mental health service has launched in Stockport and Rochdale, with the aim of helping over 16s experiencing a mental health crisis.
The pilot service was launched earlier this week as a joint collaboration between Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust, Greater Manchester Police and North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust.
The service entails a mental health clinician and a police officer attending incidents where people are reporting a mental health crisis.
The attending clinician can assess patients at the scene to ensure every possible community care option is considered, so that a section 136 suite is a last resort – another measure to arrest the ever-present backlog.
A lot of mental health crisis incidents are reported to police and ambulance services, who aren’t equipped with the knowledge or expertise to adequately and appropriately deal with the matter at hand, meaning they usually refer the patient to a section 136 suite.
However, of the 1,036 people that were referred to A&E or a section 136 suite at Pennine Care between April 2021 and March 2022, only eight percent required a hospitals admission – ultimately amounting to wasted clinician and emergency services time, which is why the pilot was initially introduced.
Sophie Marshall, a mental health nurse who covered the first shift in Stockport, said: “After covering shifts in other boroughs I’m really excited the service has come to Stockport. I’m looking forward to working with police and paramedic colleagues, to provide people with timely support and in a more comfortable environment than accident and emergency or a 136 suite.
“I’d like to thank our partners for being so engaged and proactive, so we can provide better experience for all.”
The launch follows the successful trial of the initiative in Oldham, Tameside and Bury, with the initiative managing to prevent 155 unnecessary hospital admissions this year alone.
As a result of the scheme’s success, further funding was agreed until July of this year with this geographical expansion included as well as discussions about increasing the range of ages that will be supported.
Dr Lesley Jones, head of mental health for North West Ambulance Service, said: “This initiative is providing vital support for people in mental health crisis. We are pleased to see it extended to more boroughs of Greater Manchester.”
The service is available from 5pm to 1am seven days a week.
People of any age can get mental health support can the 24/7 helpline on 0800 014 9995.
More information about the new mental health service is available here.