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Nurse help on patrol scheme extended

The innovative scheme which sees nurses accompany police to emergencies has been extended, the government has announced. 

Earlier this year Nursing in Practice revealed that mental health nurses will be attending emergencies where immediate support is needed, to ensure that people who may have mental health issues get the medical attention needed. 

Reports from established street triage schemes in Leicestershire and Cleveland show that having mental health nurses in attendance can keep people out of custody, reducing the demand on police time. 

Now police teams from London, West Yorkshire, the West Midlands and the Thames Valley will be involved, as well as the British Transport Police. 

Speaking at the launch of the new pilot sites 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.

“We know that some police forces are already doing an extremely good job of handling circumstances involving mentally ill people but we want this to be the reality everywhere. By providing police forces with the support of health professionals we can give officers the skills they need to treat vulnerable people appropriately in times of crisis.”

Mental health nurses will be on hand to support police office while they are out on patrol, assist on emergency calls and provide advice in police control rooms. 

This summer North Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Devon and Cornwall police forces set up their pilot schemes. 

Vivienne Bennett, Director of Nursing said: “Nurses play an invaluable role in helping people with mental health problems and these new street triage pilots will make sure that people get the help and assessments they need as quickly as possible in times of crisis.   

“By doing this it ensures people needing assistance are in the right environment and have access to better treatment and care. This is a great example of collaborative working and better integration of services.”