Partner agencies get it together

Local partner agencies joined forces on 11 October to provide a North East offender mental health conference entitled 'Getting it Together – Making a Positive Impact on Offender Health'.

Local partner agencies joined forces on 11 October to provide a North East offender mental health conference entitled Getting it Together – Making a Positive Impact on Offender Health.

The conference was led by Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys (TEWV) NHS Foundation Trust and its partners, the Prison and Offender Research in Social Care and Health Network (PORSCH) and Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.

The event showcased developments in offender health on a local, national and international scale. It provided partner agencies with an opportunity to share their own perspectives and experience in order to learn from one another and to further improve a collaborative approach to offender health provision and support across the region.

Speakers from NHS England, The Prison Service, Police and Courts all gave their perspectives on developments and challenges and Dr Anne Aboaja from the University of Edinburgh provided an international perspective drawing on her research. The conference also featured Lord Bradley, who provided an update on national developments in offender mental health and encouraged participants to join together to face the next round of challenges.

Commenting on the event Lord Bradley said: “It was a pleasure to be invited to such an excellent conference. I enjoyed hearing about the latest developments in service delivery to support people of all ages with a range of vulnerabilities including mental health problems and learning disabilities, who may find themselves in the Criminal Justice System. It was inspiring to see the partnership working between the NHS, the Police, the Courts and many other essential agencies to ensure the highest standards of care and innovative initiatives for these vulnerable people with complex needs.

Lisa Taylor, head of offender health for TEWV added “With the demand on agencies increasing it is essential that we do get together and work in true partnership with one another. Only by working together can we have a real significant impact and make the differences we want to make.”

TEWV and Cleveland Police were the first to pilot street triage services in Teesside, which sees mental health workers operate alongside police officers to provide mental health advice, guidance and assessments. 

Lisa Taylor added: “Street triage is an essential and valued part of the offender health pathway and we have become leaders with forces across the country learning from us and implementing their own street triage teams. We also have liaison and diversion services that provide support and guidance to offenders and agencies throughout the criminal justice system. We are very lucky in the North East to have some really innovative projects and services but we always strive to improve and hosting events such as this allow us to all come together, to learn from one another.”