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Mental health: Nurses to accompany police patrols

EMERGENCY RESPONSE: Medical teams will work more closely with police under new proposals

MENTAL HEALTH nurses are to go on patrol with police officers in four new pilot schemes across England to improve responses to emergencies.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, announced the scheme today at the Black Mental Health UK Conference.

“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”

The initiative funded by the Department of Health and backed by the Home Office aims to ensure fewer people with mental health are detained in the wrong environment.

Street triage teams starting this summer are to be tested in North Yorkshire, Sussex, Derbyshire and Devon & Cornwall.

Home Secretary Theresa May recently said one of the biggest blocks to officers was time taken up dealing with people with mental health problems.

Police estimate officer spend between 15 to 25 per cent of their time dealing with such situations.

Recently watchdog bodies in England and Wales noted too many mentally ill people were being held in police cells rather than being monitored in hospitals and similar settings.

Some who were detained were as young as 14.

Policing and criminal justice 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.

"The rollout of these street triage pilots are a step forward in our ongoing work with the Department of Health and police to ensure people with mental health issues are dealt with by the right emergency service."

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