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Norfolk mental health nurse and chief inspector invited to share police control room success at Westminster conference

Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Norfolk Constabulary have been invited to share how they have successfully incorporated nurses in the control room to ensure mental health patients receive appropriate advice when they initially contact the police.

Senior mental health nurse Terri Cooper-Barnes and Chief Inspector Amanda Ellis will among the guest speakers at Street Triage Scheme: Improving Emergency Responses to Mental Health Challenges, a Westminster Briefing to be held in London on Thursday, 4 December.

Such has been the success of the Norfolk pilot scheme launched in March; it was expanded in October thanks to extra funding from the county's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) and the Home Office.

Terri Cooper-Barnes said: "I am delighted to have been asked to share with other NHS trusts and constabularies across the UK how having mental health nurses in the Norfolk Police control room have made a real difference.

"Since I have been in the role we have seen a 30 per cent drop in the number of Section 136s, which is when police officers detain someone who's considered to have mental health needs and requires immediate care or control. They would then be taken to a place of safety in order for an assessment to be carried out."

The team of nurses have immediate access to health records and by using their expertise in mental health care, can make on-the-spot professional assessments and decisions, which could involve arranging alternative options rather than the attendance of a police officer.

Amanda Ellis added: "We have started to see a broad range of benefits for individuals suffering with mental illness and for both the Constabulary and Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust as a result of the integrated mental health team in the police control room. The Westminister Briefing is an excellent opportunity to share the work we are doing in Norfolk."