As part of the “understanding” theme of the Violent Crime Project, research was carried out on the night time economy in Swansea; it was identified that with rising levels of assaults reported to the police, extra pressure was being put on the Ambulance Service and upon the local Emergency Department.
Pursuing the “tackling violent crime” theme in the Commissioner’s Crime Reduction Plan, a successful bid was made to the Home Office’s Police Innovation Fund, and this included the plan to develop a more consistent and ambitious Help Point in Swansea. Match funding was provided from the Commissioner’s Partnership Fund and by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg Health Board which resulted in the provision of £105,000 per annum to deliver a permanent Help Point.
The objectives for the Help Point project were to:
The Help Point Portakabin based in the car park at the rear of Wind Street is staffed with the following multi agency partners: St John paramedic, advanced first aider and nurse practitioner for medical interventions, UWTSD student volunteers for pastoral care and South Wales Police Officer for security and to act as the lead agency.
An economic evaluation concluded that the HelpPoint is an exemplar of many of the principles embodied by Prudent Health Care. It found that the scheme reduces unnecessary health care demand, provides an alternative model of care which delivers at the point of need, and has led to the development of strong partnerships across the public, private and volunteer sectors which deliver the right care, at the right place, at the right time.
The evaluation also found that over 12 months, the help point treated 1560 people; 61% of referrals are classed ‘vulnerable’; with accidents, violence and acute alcohol intoxication the main reasons for referral; and diverted 80% from admission to A&E and that, across the board, it frees up £420 per patient.
Alun Michael, Police and Crime Commissioner for South Wales said: “I am delighted that the Help Point is already bringing significant benefits to the police, ambulance and health services as well as the council and the public.
“The new Help Point is another significant step towards all the various agencies working together to make Swansea a safer place.
“I have provided funding for this initiative as I see the huge benefits it will bring to the night-time economy. Providing medical assistance, advice and support on the street improves safety.
“Easing pressure on emergency services with fewer admissions to A&E leaving beds available for the treatment of others in need of help outside of the night-time economy is a major benefit for all concerned.”
Becky Gammon, Senior Nurse at Morriston Hospital’s Emergency Department, said: “The benefits of the Help Point is in the partnership working of health, police and volunteer agencies. This has allowed a safe haven for vulnerable people to go when visiting Swansea by night. This is an excellent initiative for Swansea as it allows all agencies to be represented under one roof rather than being spread thinly in hospitals and on the streets.
Mark Child, Swansea Council Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Healthy City, said: “The expansion and continuation of the Help Point in our city centre is very good news for visitors to the city at night.
“The Help Point is ideally located alongside the existing Pick Up and Drop Off Point because it brings together two important initiatives that are working to make the city centre’s night-time environment a safer place for all its visitors.
“Staff at the Help Point will be on hand to provide support to those who need it. But the best way to have a great night out is not to need the Help Point at all. That’s why I’d urge people to know their alcohol limits because staying within them will result in a more enjoyable, memorable and safer evening.”
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