Nurses to have first full-time presence in PSNI custody suites

By Daren Johnston

It has been announced that Northern Ireland police custody suites will be getting their first full-time nursing presence.

While there have been full-time nurses present in custody suites across the UK for many years, this move represents the first of its kind in Northern Ireland. Previously, there has never been an on-site nursing presence, which meant that those under arrest first had to be assessed before being brought to hospital. This drawn out process resulted in lost time, stretched resources, and detriment to the patient in need of care.

Musgrave, the largest police custody suite in Northern Ireland, is the first to make the move, with the other eight custody suites following suit by 2020.

Previously healthcare in custody suites was solely provided by 57 forensic medical officers on an on-call basis.

The nine nurses present in the suite, located in the heart of Belfast across from Victoria Square, give treatment and advice to detainees and police staff. Providing care to those in custody with mental health issues is also an important part of their role.

The move to establish a full-time custody nursing presence comes the month after a report from the Audit Office revealed that Northern Ireland’s police service is being used as a ‘last resort’ for mentally ill patients due to the widespread lack of crisis services inn the NHS. The report revealed that nearly two thirds of people arrested by police had a mental health issue, so a dedicated nursing presence will do a lot to provide proper patient care to those in need.

Please remember that, should you ever be in need, we offer a 24 hour callout service to all police stations and prisons in Northern Ireland. To find out more please click here.

 

Additionally, if you require legal advice from a solicitor specialising in mental health law in Northern Ireland contact Wilson Nesbitt in Belfast or Bangor by clicking here.