Monday, 11 July 2016

Dyfed Powys Police - Mental Health : Working Together - Part 2

We found out in Part 1 of this post last week how Dyfed Powys Police has been rolling out mental health awareness training sessions for the force's staff and partner organisations over the past few months. I was lucky enough to be able to attend the May session as the PAVO representative. These sessions have focused specifically on Section 136 of the Mental Health Act 1983, and the collaborative nature of the approach to this 72 hour detention which can be instigated by the police. 

The first half of our training covered a look at our needs and expectations, an introduction from the police mental health lead Inspector Brian Jones, setting of context by Lousia Kerr who is Powys Mental Health Partnership and Project Manager, and a consideration of "what is mental health?" by Powys psychiatrist Stephen Novick. Kath Arnold, manager of the Integrated Community Mental Health Team in Brecon, was next up before we ran out of space. In Part 2 we complete the picture. 

Approved Mental Health Professional – Helen Kiteley, Social Worker PCC

Helen described the very specific role of the Approved Mental Health Professional – a social worker who is specially trained to consider when someone may need compulsory admission under the Mental Health Act. “The AMHP is tasked with balancing care v control in the context of managing risk and the Human Rights Act 1998”.

This does not necessarily mean that someone ends up in hospital. They could be managed by the Home Treatment Team (more below) and able to stay at home. The “least restrictive intervention” is the one which has to be used.

Helen also covered a Section 135, the role of the “nearest relative”, and a AMHP’s duty to complete Mental Health Act assessments when required.

Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Teams – Andrew Williams (South), Graham Batha (North)

Andrew Williams
Andrew explained that he was a man with two hats! With his Welsh Government hat on it is his statutory responsibility to gate-keep admissions to hospital, to respond to crisis referrals in 4 hours and review out-of-hours referrals in 24 hours. With his practical hat on Andrew and his team are providing individuals with intensive support in their own homes. Staff work closely with family members and friends to maximise levels of support, and provide psychological and practical help. “Crisis prevention is really key.”

Graham’s view from the North of the county was not dissimilar. He said “we bring many aspects of hospital care to the patient’s home. Currently we have 300 patient contacts per month.”

Both teams work out of hours, though not 24/7. You can read more about the work of the North Powys HTT here.

Brian highlighted the fact that the police are operating in a different place to that of just 2 years ago. “As soon as we are facing a S136 we go out to someone who may harm themselves. But the HTT now arrive and say the police can leave”.

Graham Batha

Felindre Ward, Bronllys Hospital – Richard Rudge, Deputy Ward Manager

Felindre Ward is the designated Place of Safety for Mid and South Powys (except Ystradgynlais) where people can be taken by the police on a S136 for a mental health assessment. Richard talked us through the 12 bedded In-Patient Unit, the specific roles of staff based there, the admissions procedure and then in more detail the role of the nurse in the S136 process.

The team at Felindre works very closely with CMHT teams at Brecon and Llandrindod Wells, as well as the South Powys CRHTT.

Some interesting questions emerged during this session, such as what happens when someone is visiting Powys and is detained on a S136. It was clarified that they are then brought to a Place of Safety within Powys to be assessed, rather than being transported back to where they originally came from.

Emergency Duty Team – Debbie Everett, Social Worker & Michael Dalladay Senior Practitioner EDT

“It is the responsibility of the EDT to respond to social care emergencies where the urgency of the situation requires action at a time when mainstream services are not available.” The team has many varied duties, including undertaking mental health assessments.

Experience of someone in contact with mental health services – Jan Rogers

Regular readers of this blog will no doubt be familiar with Jan Rogers (volunteer and trustee at Ponthafren Association, and now MBE!) who then told her personal story. Jan included her experience of being detained under a Section 136 over 30 times, and her subsequent role in 2014 as a member of the Expert Reference Group which reviewed the Mental Health Act 1983 Code of Practice ( in England).

Jan concluded by saying: "things are not always what they seem. Think before making a decision or acting."

Brian rounded off the day with a number of typical scenarios, some of which we addressed in groups. There was some really useful discussion with partners from all sectors contributing and it was clear that the awareness raising had been of genuine benefit to all concerned. My feeling is that everyone working or volunteering in the field of mental health in Powys would find this session invaluable - long may it remain available to enhance our knowledge and encourage enthusiastic partnership working!

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