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Mental health support axed from police control room

The only mental health nurse based at Nottinghamshire Police’s control room is to be axed due to a lack of funding.

The nurse, based at the force’s HQ at Sherwood Lodge, has provided support to call handlers and officers responding to incidents as part of a pilot that launched on January 6 last year, working from Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm.

But Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust has not received funding to support the nurse since Monday, May 1, when the commissioning contract ended.

The trust kept the band six nurse – earning a salary of between £26,302 and £35,225 a year – in post throughout May in the hope that commissioners would fund the service again, but a decision has been made to end the service this Friday (June 9) and redeploy the worker elsewhere.

According to Nottinghamshire Police, the nurse looked at 1,967 calls between January 6 and December 31, last year. Figures for the rest of the pilot were unavailable at the time of publishing.

Debbie Dolan, operational manager for adult mental health acute services at Nottinghamshire Healthcare, told the Post that the service worked well with the trust’s street triage team, which goes out with police every night between 4pm and 1am.

She said: “It was relatively well-used, depending on demand to day-to-day, so we saw fluctuations. Overall it was really successful and valuable, and anything we can do to expand and grow that service would be positive. Our two proposals were to continue or look to expand the car model into the day time.

“I do think it has been really valuable. However funding hasn’t been forthcoming so it will be stopping on Friday this week. Our commissioners locally care really working with us to address mental health and are always keen to work with us to develop the service, but at this time, nationally, our health service has to be as effective and productive as possible, which means challenging decisions.”

A spokesman for Nottinghamshire Police said: “They were supporting the police with calls from members of the public in any form of mental health crisis or where significant concerns were present for someone’s mental health.

“They provided relevant information to help the police respond appropriately, advice the police on options available, signpost to other agencies and mental health teams to offer further support post-incident and, if necessary, support the police by speaking to the service user directly to help de-escalate crisis.

“Nottinghamshire Police and Nottinghamshire Healthcare are currently looking at ways in which information can be shared and support can be shared and support can be given to police when people present to the police in crisis. The control room nurse is a valuable resource to enable timely information sharing, support and onward signposting options when people call the police in crisis.

 

“It will be missed, however contingencies are being developed to help the police keep people safe.”

Vicki Nash, head of policy and campaigns at mental health charity Mind, said mental health services have been “underfunded for decades”.

She said: When people are in a mental health crisis they need urgent help and support from NHS mental health services. The police are frequently first to arrive when someone is acutely unwell, experiencing suicidal thoughts or psychosis. We often hear of them doing a fantastic job to support people in crisis, but they need the right help and support from the NHS.

“Too often we hear of people ending up in police custody because there is nowhere else to take them, but there have been a number of successful pilot projects that have reduced the risk of this happening, where the NHS and police work more closely together and share information to make sure the person in crisis gets the urgent care they need and deserve

Source Nottingham Post