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Police team up with Health Board to combat mental illness

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PC Celt Thomas and mental health practitioner, Edward McHugh: Supported by a team of 11 officers who have received training.

PC Thomas and mental health practitioner, Edward McHugh: Supported
by a team of 11 officers who have received training.ill

DYFED-POWYS POLICE and Hywel Dda University Health Board have joined forces to help people in mental distress over Christmas, and reduce the amount of times police cells are used as places of safety for those waiting to be assessed. A triage service has been operating for the last two weekends, and will also be available this weekend. The service, based in Carmarthen Police HQ is led by PC Celt Thomas and mental health practitioner, Edward McHugh. They are supported by a team of 11 officers who have received training.

The team have access to police and health records, and are able to provide background information to officers so they can provide specific assistance to people who need tailored help. Most information and advice will be provided to officers remotely, via telephone or police radio contact. The service also aims to reduce the use of Section 136 of the Mental Health Act and to provide better signposting and pathways into services for people following incidents. Evidence from the national pathfinder triage pilots show that having a mental health triage service significantly reduces the number of Section 136 detentions.

The practical benefits of mental health triage include access to patient records, information, intelligence, and specialist advice to enable better decision-making at the scene of incidents, a range of tactical options being made available to police officers as alternatives to detentions under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, proactive signposting and referral to wide range of services and better communication between agencies. Det Superintendent Andy John said: “This isn’t the first time we have worked together to provide this service. Last December, we ran the service for four evenings in December.

“It resulted in providing information and advice to officers in relation to 34 incidents, averting two Section 136 detentions and supporting an elderly couple to remain at home. Without the service, both would almost certainly have been admitted to hospital for different reasons. Referring vulnerable people for additional services and support, including young people, enabling direct admission to residential Mental Health wards. As a result of this, Dyfed Powys Police and Hywel Dda University Health Board agreed to formally pilot the service for a year, and established a Project Board to develop and oversee the pilot.

Karen Howell, Chief Executive (Interim) of Hywel Dda University Health Board said: “The street triage service is a fantastic example of prudent healthcare – healthcare that fits the needs and circumstances of patients whilst avoiding wasteful care not to the patients benefit. By working together, different organisations will provide a more timely assessment of a person’s mental health and a more positive experience for the times when they come into contact with a police officer.”

Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon, who secured Home Office funding of £90,000 for the new service, said: “I want to help vulnerable people – and this practical and useful service will do that. “This service provides an appropriate service to people in mental distress at the earliest opportunity – and will save time and money for the police, ambulance and health services. “It offers new support to individuals at a time when they’re particularly vulnerable and will help Dyfed- Powys Police and others become more effective on the front line.”

Key partners on the project board include: Dyfed Powys Police; Hywel Dda University Health Board; Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire & Ceredigion Local Authorities; West Wales Action for Mental Health; University of South Wales and the Welsh Ambulance Service The Triage service will be formally evaluated by a postgraduate student of the University of South Wales, who will undertake both a quantitative and qualitative evaluation with service users. The student is also a service user, and has shared her experiences with Project Board member in order to shape and enhance the service.

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Community

Lampeter to have its say on £10,000 funding for community groups

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Community groups in Lampeter will soon have the chance to apply for funds from a pot of £10,000
committed by Dyfed-Powys Police Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn.
The commissioner has called on groups to take advantage of funding for projects that aim to
improve safety in the area.

Mr Llywelyn has committed £140,000 for Neighbourhood Policing Teams to spend within the
communities they serve. Each team will receive £10,000, with communities themselves voting on
how the money is allocated.

Lampeter is next on the list of events – and the NPT is calling on partner organisations and people
who live or work in the town to join forces and form a community planning group to make key
decisions.

Mr Llywelyn said: “I have committed to fund this new and innovative approach to community
funding as I think it’s vital that local residents have a say in how money is spent in their local area.
“They are best placed to work with the police, and indeed other partner agencies, to identify where
the money is needed and what would most benefit the local communities.
“Communities should be influencing the decisions.

“I urge the various community groups in Lampeter to consider the funding that I have made
available, and to contact the Lampeter NPT to discuss ideas, so the whole community can work
together to improve community safety.”

The planning group will attend several meetings – either socially distanced or online – over the next
few months to agree on key decisions and planning. Details will then be released on how groups can
apply for the funding, and an event will take place, giving people a chance to vote on which projects
should benefit.

Superintendent Ifan Charles, force lead on participatory budgeting, said: “Participatory budgeting is
a way of giving communities a greater say in how their community evolves.

“Problem solving to find long term solutions to solve the issues that cause communities the greatest
harm, is at the core of our new neighbourhood policing model.

“Through informed community engagement and problem solving, the new neighbourhood structure
should reduce the long-term harm for our communities and with that, demand on our response
officers, but this will only work if our communities and partners are equally engaged.
“Participatory budgeting has worked really well elsewhere and I’m really excited to lead the
introduction of this innovative approach here.”

If you live, work or play in Lampeter and would like to be involved, or if you have any questions,
please register an interest at LampeterPB@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk
Follow the NPT on Twitter at @LampeterPolice for further updates. #LampeterPB

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Community

Ceredigion lifesavers go the extra mile during lockdown

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Loyal blood donors in Ceredigion have responded to a request from the Welsh
Blood Service to ‘donate differently’ by rolling up their sleeves to make a
lifesaving donation at one of the Service’s new regional hubs.

Across Wales, of the 6,808 individuals that visited a Welsh Blood Service donation
session in May 63% of donors attended a clinic that was not their usual donation
venue.

In Ceredigion, 293 donors came forward to give blood in May, with 34 attending a
donation session for the very first time.

Following a series of Covid-19 related venue cancellations and social distancing
restrictions, the Welsh Blood Service was unable to host donation sessions at the thirty
community venues it would typically visit across Wales each week.

The Service introduced a new collections schedule at the beginning of April which saw
collections taken from five regional donation hubs at different locations in Wales each
week. Donors were asked to travel to donate at their nearest hub.

Alan Prosser, Director of the Welsh Blood Service, said: “When it became clear we
couldn’t continue with business as usual, we knew we’d have to ask donors to donate
differently. Our regional donation hubs have replaced our usual local collections
programme and the response from donors has been remarkable.

“98.3% of the appointments we’ve made available since lockdown have been taken
and many of these appointments have been taken by donors who have been prepared
to go even further out of their way than they usually would just to make a potentially
lifesaving donation.”

The Service has also observed a sharp rise in the number of new donors coming
forward to donate.

Mr Prosser continued: “In May 2019, around 11% of those that attended our donation
sessions were new donors. This May, around 19% of our attendance has been people
who had never given before.

“We’ve also see a surge in the number of donors who haven’t given in years returning
to our sessions to help us boost stocks. It’s been amazing and we’re hugely grateful.”

Blood stocks in Wales have remained healthy throughout the pandemic as the reduced
collections activity has mirrored a reduction in the volume of blood used by hospitals.
However, the Service is urging donors to continue to attend their local sessions as and
when lockdown restrictions are lifted.

“Blood stocks are currently very healthy thanks to the commitment of new and existing
donors but we need people to keep giving blood to ensure we can continue to meet
hospital demand in the coming months. Travel to donate is considered essential travel
and anyone who is fit, well and eligible to donate can book an appointment through the
welshblood.org.uk website.”

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Community

Porth Cymorth Cynnar supporting residents in Ceredigion

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During this challenging period, Porth Cymorth Cynnar has established a virtual platform to ensure that we are able to keep in touch with vulnerable residents across Ceredigion.

Due to the restrictions introduced to safeguard our communities against COVID-19, many residents are not able to access their usual provision or support such as parent groups or GP Referral Exercise Classes. Instead, we are ensuring that all residents whom are known to our services, and others, are kept in touch with, through regular welfare calls, should they wish.

Around 2000 residents from young people to families to carers, who may require or benefit from regular contact whilst their service is not operating in its usual form, will receive communication from our staff.

To date, almost 2000 welfare calls have been made, and have been well received by people across Ceredigion. Residents have said that it is great that someone is keeping in touch with them, to give them an opportunity to have a weekly phone call and someone to talk to.

Mrs Jones* (name changed for anonymity) who is 92 and lives alone, is used to receiving regular visits from Ceredigion’s mobile library was identified as benefiting from a weekly phone call, to check how she was doing, now that her usual library service would not be visiting for a while. Porth Cymorth Cynnar aimed to get in touch with Mrs Jones, but did not have a contact number. After tracking down a contact number through the local directory, a member of the Porth y Gymuned team was able to make contact. Luckily Mrs Jones has the support of family and neighbours to collect groceries, but nonetheless was extremely grateful to have someone to talk to, and to check that she is OK. A weekly phone check in has been organised with Mrs Jones, to ensure that she is doing well and to organise if she is in need of anything.

If you, or anyone you know would benefit from the Keeping in Touch Service, please get in touch with our Customer Services team on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk who will triage your query to Porth Cymorth Cynnar.

Porth Cymorth Cynnar are also regularly updating resource lists which are available on the Ceredigion County Council website here: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/coronavirus

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