Adult Mental Health Services, in partnership with Thames Valley Police (TVP), are pleased to be launching a new street triage service in Aylesbury.

The service, which goes live on 1 June 2015, provides an experienced member of staff to work alongside the police and aims to improve both the overall experience and access to appropriate care for people experiencing a mental health crisis, where the police might become involved. By having immediate access to a trained mental health professional the service is able to offer advice and appropriate support and reduces the need for members of the public to be taken to a custody suite as a place of safety.

The sister service in Oxfordshire has been a great success, evidenced by a significant decrease of Section 136 detentions and positive feedback from patients about their experience. TVP colleagues have also reported how much they value having a trained member of staff with them, as not only does it make them feel better supported in dealing with these incidents but it also gives them greater capacity to deal with other calls that required specialist police intervention.

Supt Olly Wright, LPA commander for Aylesbury Vale, said: “I am really pleased that we have street triage starting here in Aylesbury Vale, and soon across the rest of Buckinghamshire. It’s true that significant amounts of police time have been saved as a result of the scheme in Oxfordshire, and it will be great news to replicate those efficiencies here.  However, that’s not primarily what street triage is about; by having trained mental health professionals working alongside police officers, we’ll provide a much better service to vulnerable people in need of help, with more effective early assessment and involvement of appropriate support. For years, too many people suffering from mental health crisis have found themselves being taken into police custody because there’s been nowhere else for them to go, or the police officers haven’t known what else to do to keep them safe. Street Triage will mean that custody really does become the place of last resort. I’m very grateful for our partners in the NHS who have made this possible.”

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, clinical director for adult services, Dr Rob Bale said: “The street triage scheme has proved very effective in Oxfordshire and so we are delighted that it will now be implemented in Buckinghamshire. It is an excellent example of effective partnership working between the police and health services and means that more people are getting appropriate mental health support at the earliest opportunity. This service will complement the excellent work we are already doing in Buckinghamshire around liaison work in acute services, mental health urgent care services and the building of the Whiteleaf Centre and I look forward to seeing its success extended to Buckinghamshire and elsewhere.”

tvp iiImage courtesy of Thames Valley Police