As well as delivering live services, the National Police Wellbeing Service is also focussed on developing capability that optimises or enhances access to and delivery of wellbeing services for officers and staff.  

Since the last newsletter, we have been working on a project to look at what contact officers and staff may need to have with their local doctor, hospital or other healthcare provider and how we, can help to make that easier and help people cut through what is a huge (and sometimes overwhelming system) and get to the support or advice they need more directly.

Whilst the internet does much to help in our daily lives, finding and following link after link in an effort to establish where to go, who to see, what to ask for is frustrating to say the least.  Unsurprisingly given its scale (it is the largest employer in the UK), navigating the NHS, is a tricky business; like most professional services, healthcare professionals have a language of their own, scattered with confusing acronyms – which are often not even aligned across areas!

Knowing whether you should go to your GP, or to A&E or to the Emergency Department in your local hospital is not a given for most of us, and being faced with a choice between a psychiatrist or a psychologist is a challenge too far when you have just come off a night shift, you’ve grabbed a rushed breakfast (supper), done the school run, whizzed around the supermarket and still have a dozen things to do as well as get some shut-eye.

Add to this that none of us want to waste other people’s time (and we certainly don’t want to waste our own), NPWS is working with NHS colleagues to make accessing wellbeing services easier – hopefully saving busy officers and staff some time and preventing more frustration!

Oscar Kilo will provide an overview of healthcare services in order to facilitate access for busy police officers and staff by answering the “What and Where and When and How and Why and Who?

This will not ‘fast-track’ officers or staff or give them preferential access to services but should assist their access to the right area of the NHS.

A separate project is seeking to enhance awareness of the context of police work for healthcare professionals.  Taken together therefore, officers and staff can ensure that they are going to the right place and will be seen by a healthcare professional who has an understanding of the unique challenges of policing, and the competing pressures that they bring and can take them into consideration throughout a consultation and subsequent treatment.

Guidance will be available via the ‘Signposts’ area of Oscar Kilo under an NHS 111 banner.

Accessing this will provide users with an overview of what services are available to officers and staff and clicking the services will provide an overview of the service to help answer the What and Where and When and Why and Who.  Finally, details of ‘How’ the service should be accessed will be provided.

Like the police, the NHS works in a somewhat federated fashion but it is hoped that in force areas, further regional initiatives can enhance guidance so that local arrangements can be shared.