National award joy for Dorset’s Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service

11th July 2018

An NHS team which supports people through the criminal justice system with mental health issues, learning disabilities and other vulnerabilities has won a national award for patient safety.

Dorset HealthCare’s Criminal Justice Liaison and Diversion Service (CJLD) triumphed at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards, held in Manchester this week.

The team works across Dorset, often directly from police custody, supporting people of all ages with complex needs.

Back in 2014, the service set out to identify and support vulnerable members of our community, with a focus on reducing the number of people being detained in police custody under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

It has worked with local agencies – including the police, local councils and other healthcare providers – to introduce a more effective, co-ordinated response for people in mental distress, crisis and emergency.

And its tireless efforts have not only resulted in cost savings for all agencies, but also improved wellbeing and recovery for those suffering mental health episodes in custody or the courts.

An inspection of Dorset Police custody by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2016 reported a large reduction in the number of people brought into custody, and significant progress in improving outcomes for this vulnerable group.

This success saw the team win in the Mental Health category at the HSJ Awards, a national benchmark for excellence in healthcare. Judges said the CJLD service “provides a unique and attentive approach that is forward looking in maintaining safety of a vulnerable group.”

Service Lead Stan Sadler said: “We take great confidence in the knowledge that each and every one of our skilled workforce has embraced a model designed to meet the needs of some of the most vulnerable people in Dorset.

“I am overwhelmed and so proud of this wonderful achievement, but mindful that the hard work must continue, along with the strong relationships we have built with other criminal justice organisations and the emergency services.”

The honour is further recognition for the CJLD Team, which narrowly missed out on winning the Liaison and Diversion accolade at the Howard League’s ‘Policing the Community’ Awards last year, where they were one of only three teams shortlisted from 35 services across England.

And it is the second Dorset HealthCare service to win an award on the national stage this month, with the Armed Forces Community Health and Wellbeing Team recognised for its work in mental health at NHS70 Parliamentary Awards last week (Wednesday, 4 July).