Emergency services from the four corners of Yorkshire and the Humber, along with NHS England and Public Health England, have pledged to work even closer together for the benefit of the health and well-being of people across the region.
Police, ambulance and fire and rescue services share a long history of effective collaborative working and the signing of a consensus statement today in Leeds to extend this partnership approach is the first regional agreement to follow a similar national agreement.
With demand for health and social care rising, the main focus is for services to use their joint intelligence and skills to support communities with ill-health prevention and early intervention where problems are identified. This will include greater sharing and development of referral pathways into key services such as falls prevention and support for mental health, alcohol and drug problems, advice to keep homes warm and social support to combat loneliness and isolation.
The whole-system approach will be facilitated by Public Health England (Yorkshire and the Humber) and involves:
- Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust
- North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
- North Yorkshire Police
- Humberside Fire & Rescue Service
- Humberside Police
- South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
- South Yorkshire Police
- West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service
- West Yorkshire Police
Emergency services’ staff come into contact with vulnerable people every day and see health inequalities and social challenges first-hand. By tackling these risks jointly and more effectively, the main aim is to improve the quality of life for individuals and ultimately reduce demand on the busy emergency services.
Projects already underway in the Humberside service area include:
A Safe and Well Conference was held in November including fire, police and health partners to look how we can improve the multi-agency offering to vulnerable people in the community. The current Safe and Well offering from the Fire Service includes Smoking Cessation, Falls Prevention, Social Isolation and Cold Homes, with plans to incorporate targeted crime prevention activity. We are looking to formalise structures for data led demand analysis which will contribute to further improving the targeting of safe and well activity as well as the establishment of early intervention teams. Alongside this, a joint evaluation model is being discussed between fire, police and Hull University to see how we can best evaluate prevention activity.
Humberside Police and Fire Volunteers was the first joint volunteering scheme in the country. The volunteers actively engage with vulnerable people across Humberside, representing both services in providing advice to people in crime and fire prevention among other subject areas.
Fire has FIRST - a Falls Team which responds to vulnerable people falling in their homes, a partnership with the Clinical Commissioning Group. There is also a fire service provision for Emergency Medical Response. These teams deliver response activities to reduce demand on ambulance services and provide the community with an additional level of response.
Co-location of prevention teams is being explored with the joint team wholly delivering youth engagement activities including BTEC, Princes Trust, National Citizenship, Night Challenge, Rock Challenge and Operation Lifestyle.
We have a joint Memorandum of Understanding for dealing with Missing Persons cases between Fire and Police. There is also a joint Memorandum of Understanding for use of Fire Investigation dogs by Fire Officers and also Crime Scene Investigators. There are considerations for trained dogs being used in Missing Person cases also.
The Police are working with MIND to provide support to 999 callers living with Mental Health. A member of the MIND charity sits with Police call handlers and available to transfer calls to in non-emergency situations which may not require Police resources to be sent. We are looking to broaden this out to wider services.
Fire and Police are members of the Make Every Contact Count (MECC) community of improvement network and are using this to upskill and train staff in related subject areas like Mental Health to ensure services delivered to people are done in the right way.
Chris Blacksell, Chief Fire Officer of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service is keen to build upon much of the work already done in this area:
‘We are excited to be involved in many collaborative approaches for improving the services that our organisations deliver to the community. The examples discussed today are proving successful across a range of interventions to support communities and we are developing collaboration to further contribute to a combined approach to provide positive outcomes for the safety, health and wellbeing of people across the Humberside region’.
Lee Freeman, Chief Constable of Humberside Police was equally committed to greater partnership working:
‘We already have some excellent examples of local emergency services working together to improve outcomes for the public. Moving forward, looking at how we can integrate our service delivery and focus on delivering shared outcomes in local communities is a priority’.
Rod Barnes, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Ambulance Service : "This is a great opportunity to work together even more closely and deliver greater support to the most vulnerable members of our communities. By coordinating our efforts we stand a better chance of addressing widespread health and wellbeing problems and improving the quality of people’s lives.”