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Innovative nurse-led service to reach wider audience

For Ian Trenholm, deputy service manager of Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, 2 October is a date worth marking on his calendar.

On that day, he will be in Saskatchewan, Canada, for the 13th International Custody and Caring Conference on the Nurses Role in the Criminal Justice System.

Mr Trenholm will share the experience of the Norfolk trust’s liaison and diversion team with specialist healthcare teams from around the world.

The community-based team was one of 31 programmes selected by the Department of Health over the last two years to be a diversion “pathfinder” site.

As a pathfinder, they carry out assessments on offenders and provide expert information to professionals in the criminal justice system. They also divert offenders into mental health services where appropriate.

“Since becoming a pathfinder site we have been able to work as a much more coherent team, with more consistency in the way we practice,” said Mr Trenholm.

“It has also allowed individual practitioners to build up a good network, which inevitably has a positive effect on the quality of care we are able to give to our service users and offenders.”

The team also liaises with mental health agencies and, as part of their role, are occasionally brought in to advise during court hearings.

Mr Trenholm said the integrated role has increased their presence in the healthcare world and changed the quality of care their service offers.

“The changes the trust made to provide liaison and diversion services, and our status as a pathfinder site, have promoted a consistent approach, which has had a positive effect on the quality of the service that we provide,” said Mr Trenholm.

“It is a great opportunity to present the work of a service staffed by nurses and led by nurses,” he added.

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