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Birmingham and Solihull Mental health NHS Foundation Trust
Better Together

Street triage shortlisted for prestigious Health Service Journal award

Published: 29/09/2015

An initiative which brings three key services in healthcare and law and order together in Birmingham has been shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

Street Triage sees Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust working together to help make sure people with mental health issues are kept out of police custody.

HSJ 15

Now the scheme, which started as a pilot in 2014, has been shortlisted in the ‘Enhancing Care by Sharing Data and Information’ category at the 2015 Health Service Journal (HSJ) Awards.

The HSJ Awards celebrate excellence and highlight the most innovative and successful people and projects in healthcare in the UK.

Street Triage brings mental health nurses, police officers and paramedics together to quickly resolve issues.

In its first year – from January to December 2014 – the scheme achieved a 51% reduction in the number people in severe mental distress in contact with the police being held under Mental Health Act powers and being taken to places of safety.
And, out of 562 incidents in a public place, which took place between January and July 2015, just 80 people were detained under the Mental Health Act following assessment under Street Triage.  Previously this would resulted in 259 people being detained.

Members of all three organisations are delighted with the impact the scheme has had and that it has now been shortlisted for the award.

John Short, Chief Executive of Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Street Triage is a fantastic example of public services working together positively to really help people. This scheme has had a great impact and is making sure people with mental health issues, who might previously have been taken in to police custody, instead receive the care they need. I am thrilled the scheme has been recognised and proud this Trust is part of something which brings different organisations together to make a real difference to people.”

Chief Inspector Sean Russell, of West Midlands Police, which submitted the scheme for the award, said Street Triage represented a cultural shift and saw all three organisations sharing more information and working more closely together.

“The initiative has been hugely successful primarily because it means medical experts, rather than police officers, are on hand to carry out assessments on individuals at the scene,” he added.

“It has resulted in a dramatic drop in the number of people deemed necessary to detain under the Mental Health Act, while those judged to be in need of help are now being taken to safe health facilities instead of police cells.”

Rob Cole, Consultant Paramedic with West Midlands Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust, said: “To just be shortlisted for such a prestigious award is a fantastic achievement for the team of paramedics, police officers and mental health nurses. The fact that the team have been shortlisted shows how highly regarded their integrated work is in the health sector. The team have worked incredibly hard since the pilot scheme was launched which has seen the scheme expanded into the Black Country. It’s credit to the paramedics, police officers and nurses that they’re now up for such a sought after prize.”

This year over 1,600 entries were submitted for the awards which take place at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on 18 November. Now the shortlisted organisations will now complete presentations and interviews for a judging panel made up of senior figures from the health sector.