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Lincolnshire emergency services pilot mental health triage

Lincolnshire is trialing a new scheme to provide better care for people with mental health issues.

The pilot ‘street triage’ service, funded by the NHS and Lincolnshire Police, brings together mental health nurses, police and paramedics.

The project started in April and has been running for the past two months. It was officially launched on Tuesday, June 24.

A team of mental health nurses and paramedics attend incidents where police feel people need immediate mental health support.

The healthcare team travels around the county ensuring those with mental health issues are kept out of police custody and receive care.

They are called at incidents by emergency 999 operators, by dual crewed ambulances on scene or from the police force control room after officers at the scene request an ambulance.

The pilot aims to see the demand on A&E resources reduced, as well as reducing the number of people with mental health issues arrested or put into custody.

The street triage service operates currently between 4pm and midnight, but it is hoped to extend the hours of operation if it proves successful.

In April, the pilot service received 189 calls and was able to attend 83 calls during operating hours.

Real life situation

Lincolnshire Police Chief Inspector Chris Davison, Dr John Brewin, Interim Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and EMAS Locality Quality Manager Paul Benton with the new street triage vehicle. Photo: Steve Smailes/The Lincolnite
Lincolnshire Police Chief Inspector Chris Davison, Dr John Brewin, Interim Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and EMAS Locality Quality Manager Paul Benton with the new street triage vehicle. Photo: Steve Smailes/The Lincolnite

Lincolnshire Police Chief Inspector Chris Davison said: “We’re very excited by this pilot, as it promises to deliver better outcomes for people needing services, as well as reducing the demand on police officer time in dealing with mental health related incidents.”

In one particular incident, a police team of a sergeant and five constables, had to deal with a person with mental health issues in Lincoln.

The triage car was dispatched to the incident and took over from the officer dealing one on one with the man, helping de-escalate the incident so it required no police action.

Before the pilot, officers usually had to detain people under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, which would have also taken the unit off from patrol to process the case.

EMAS Locality Quality Manager Paul Benton said: “The pilot fits with our Better Patient Care improvement plan which is focused on ensuring we work with the community and our partners to provide appropriate care, particularly to those individuals who are suffering from mental health issues as well as physical injuries and are clearly in need of some immediate help.”

Dr John Brewin, Interim Chief Executive at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are delighted to be involved in yet another scheme with our key partners to help ensure people who need mental health care get the right support and at the same time reduce demand on the emergency services.”