Published on: 24th May 2022
Mental health professionals, police, and ambulance staff in Stockport and Rochdale have joined forces to improve care for over 18s experiencing a mental health crisis.
The mental health joint response service pilot was launched yesterday by Pennine Care, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS).
It involves one of our mental health clinicians and a police officer jointly attending incidents, where the person is experiencing a mental health crisis. The service runs from 5pm to 1am, seven days a week.
The aim is to make sure people quickly receive the right support, in the right place, which is vital for their recovery and ensuring a positive experience.
The clinician can assess patients at the scene to ensure every appropriate community-based care option is considered, so that A&E, or an admission to a secure section 136 suite (place of safety) are a last resort for those who really need it.
A high volume of mental health crisis incidents are reported to police and ambulance services. Officers and paramedics aren’t trained or confident around mental health care, meaning their usual response is to take the person to A&E or a 136 suite.
In most cases this isn’t in the person’s best interests and doesn’t make best use of time for mental health clinicians, officers, and paramedics.
Nearly 1,036 people were admitted to our 136 suites between April 2021 and March 2022. Following assessment, only around eight per cent needed a hospital admission, meaning the majority could have been appropriately and safely treated by a community-based service.
The service is being launched following the success of a pilot in Oldham, Tameside and Bury. Since January 2022, 450 people have been supported across the boroughs. 155 people avoided being admitted to a 136 suite, with only 18 admissions.
The remaining patients received various types of support, with the most common being mental health advice and support and signposting to our 24-hour helpline.
Thanks to the scheme’s success, it was agreed to fund it until July 2022 and to expand it to Rochdale and Stockport.
Work is underway to source permanent funding across all five boroughs. We are also discussing how to safely expand the service to include children and young people.
Sophie Marshall, mental health nurse, covered the first shift in Stockport. She said: “After covering shifts in other boroughs I’m really excited the service has come to Stockport.
“I’m looking forward to working with police and paramedic colleagues, to provide people with timely support and in a more comfortable environment than accident and emergency or a 136 suite.
“I’d like to thank our partners for being so engaged and proactive, so we can provide better experience for all.”
Caroline McCann, our associate director for the Rochdale borough said, said: “Rochdale is the birthplace of co-operation, so it’s apt we’ve established such a valuable partnership with our police and ambulance colleagues. It’s a significant step forward in making sure the right support is available at the earliest point and in familiar surroundings, which is how we can make the most difference.
“My colleague Hayley and I covered the first shift on Monday night. It was a great experience and valuable to see things from the police’s point of view. We were really looked after, and it was rewarding see first-hand the positive difference it can make to people’s lives.”
John Webster, Greater Manchester Police’s chief superintendent for Stockport, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this successful partnership service to Stockport. Often, people experiencing a mental health crisis don’t need a police response. This service delivers the right care by the right person in the least traumatic and most effective way.”
Chief superintendent Nicky Porter, Greater Manchester Police’s district commander for Rochdale added: “Rochdale warmly welcome this initiative and we’re keen to replicate the success within our communities. We’ll continue to meet regularly with our partners to evaluate how it’s going, so we continue to meet people’s needs.”
Dr Lesley Jones, head of mental health for North West Ambulance Service, said: “This initiative is providing vital support for people in mental health crisis. We are pleased to see it extended to more boroughs of Greater Manchester.”
People of any age who need mental health advice or support can phone our 24/7 helpline on 0800 014 9995.
Photo 1: Pictured are members of the Stockport mental health joint response service.
Left to right are John Webster, chief superintendent for Stockport, Greater Manchester Police; PC Tom Stevenson, Greater Manchester Police; Sophie Marshall, mental health nurse from Pennine Care; Paul Lumsdon, network director of operations (south), Pennine Care; Shaun Flavell, neighbourhood inspector and mental health lead for Stockport, from Greater Manchester Police
Photo 2: Pictured are members of the Rochdale borough joint response service.
Left to right are: Eli Hepworth, acting acute service manager, Pennine Care; Caroline McCann, associate director operations for the Rochdale borough, Pennine Care; Hayley McLellan, response hub service manager, Pennine Care; chief superintendent Nicky Porter, Greater Manchester Police’s district commander for Rochdale; PC Harry Suleman, Greater Manchester Police; Richard Ennis, Greater Manchester Police's detective chief inspector for the Rochdale borough; Karen Maneely, network director of operations (north), Pennine Care.
Photo 3: Sophie Marshall, Pennine Care mental health nurse and PC Tom Stevenson, Greater Manchester Police.
Photo 4: PC Harry Suleman, Greater Manchester Police, Hayley McLellan, response hub service manager, Pennine Care and Caroline McCann, associate director operations for the Rochdale borough, Pennine Care