New initiative to better target help and welfare support for people in Sussex launched

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Sussex Police and health and social care organisations have launched a new initiative to better target help and welfare support for people in Sussex.

Right Care Right Person is a national police programme being rolled out across the UK, as part of ongoing work between police forces, health providers, and local and national government.

The national model is designed to ensure that when there are concerns for a person’s welfare linked to mental health, medical, or social care issues, the right person with the right skills, training and experience will respond.

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In recent years, police officers have been the first to respond to those who require specialist care. Under Right Care Right Person, officers will no longer be taking on this responsibility when it is inappropriate to do so. The care will now be provided by the organisation that can best meet the individual’s needs, although Sussex Police will continue to provide its statutory safeguarding children response.

Sussex Police and health and social care organisations have launched a new initiative to better target help and welfare support for people in Sussex. Picture by National WorldSussex Police and health and social care organisations have launched a new initiative to better target help and welfare support for people in Sussex. Picture by National World
Sussex Police and health and social care organisations have launched a new initiative to better target help and welfare support for people in Sussex. Picture by National World

In Sussex, there have been many months of collaborative preparatory work between Sussex Police, NHS, local authorities and third sector organisations for the launch of Right Care Right Person.

Similar schemes have already been successfully adopted by forces in Humberside, Lincolnshire, Hampshire, and the Metropolitan Police. This new way of working will be delivered in phases over the coming months.

Assistant Chief Constable Howard Hodges said: "We’re here to keep people safe and the police will absolutely still respond to incidents where there is a clear policing need.

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"However, for people who are in a distressed or vulnerable state, it can be detrimental to their health to be dealt with by uniformed police officers who do not have the professional healthcare skills required. It can make them feel criminalised when what they need is specialist help.

"Right Care Right Person is about ensuring people receive the most appropriate care, from the right person, which we as police are not always best placed to provide.

"From today, police will no longer carry out routine welfare checks (for example, an adult who has missed a planned health appointment). This does not stop the police continuing to perform their key role of keeping people safe, and where there is a real and immediate risk to life, officers will continue to respond.

"Sussex Police will still be there when needed; to deter, prevent and tackle crime, or when there’s a threat to life. This approach will not only ensure people receive the right care, it will also free police resources to tackle crime.

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"The success of Right Care Right Person relies on us working closely with our partners in health and social and we are grateful for their support in implementing this model.”

Dr Amy Dissanayake, deputy chief medical officer for NHS Sussex, said: "Making sure that people who need health or care support are cared for by the most appropriate person, is a priority for all health and care organisations across Sussex.

"Right Care Right Person is an important element in our plans to improve and transform emergency care across Sussex.

"We are working with all our partners - especially the police - to ensure safe introduction of RCRP, so that vulnerable people who need our services are supported by the best person for their needs in the first instance."

Signposting:

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If you feel like you can't cope and need help with your mental health, you can get same-day or next day help by:

Calling NHS 111 and select the mental health option (available 24/7)

Calling the Samaritans on 116 123 (available 24/7)

Texting the word SUSSEX to 85258 (available 24/7)

If your life - or someone else's life - is in immediate danger, please call 999.

For information on local support services available in your area visit https://www.safespacesussex.org.uk/.