Pilot mental health care scheme trialled to relieve pressures on Lancashire's hospitals and police services

Assistant chief constable Terry Woods.
Assistant chief constable Terry Woods.

Police and mental health services across Lancashire have piloted a 24 hour support scheme to address the rise in mental health crisis incidents across the red rose county.

Lancashire Police and Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT) launched the trial of its 24/7 service at 11pm last Friday night at the Mental Health Decision Unit at Royal Preston Hospital, finishing at midday yesterday.

Assistant Chief Constable at Lancashire Police, Terry Woods, pictured, said: “In response to the increasing demand in relation to mental health we have been working with LCFT, the Lancashire mental health provider, to test a facility in Preston which will enable officers to take some patients to the Mental Health Decision Unit instead of A&E.”

ACC Woods added: “While some significant challenges and issues remain, we will spend the week evaluating the performance of this facility.”

It comes after one case study last week saw two Lancashire police officers employed for 40 hours looking after one patient because no suitable care could be found.

A spokesman for the health trust said: “Following the not uncommon pressures experienced by both mental health services and Lancashire Constabulary over the weekend of 16 June 2018, we have had some positive conversations to discuss how we will work together to jointly respond and support people in mental health crisis.

“We agreed to pilot some joint working in a single location this weekend to support people in mental health crisis, with the intention of enabling officers to return to their regular duties rather
than staying with people in A&E departments.

"We will be meeting later this week to review how successful this was so we can build this into future planning. In the longer term, we are involving the constabulary in our plans to develop a Mental Health Decision Unit – which is similar to an A&E for people in crisis."

They added: "We are also looking to extend our Crisis Resolution and Home Treatment Teams (CRTT) to a 24/7 service. The CRTT provide a safe and effective alternative to in-patient care by helping people through times of mental health crisis in their own home environment. Since May, we have also opened an additional 20 mental health beds for people across the county.

“We have plans in place for working together to grow our services for people who find themselves in crisis due to mental health difficulties and will continue to work alongside our partners to further strengthen our crisis response services in Lancashire.”