A&E navigators scheme to launch in Bedfordshire hospitals
Main article content
Specialist youth workers are to be embedded into hospital A&Es across Bedfordshire to offer support to patients involved in or at risk of violence and exploitation.
The Bedfordshire A&E navigators programme will work with young people aged 12 to 25 who are primarily patients at both the Bedford and Luton & Dunstable hospitals.
The service will be focused on patients who come into A&E with injuries linked to violence and exploitation, including self harm and assault injuries.
They will be offered specialist support to move away from criminal exploitation, gangs and county lines related activity and to positively engage with other local services.
Some 1,800 young people aged 10 to 24 came to A&Es in Bedfordshire between April 2016 and March 2021 with assault related injuries.
Charity St Giles Trust, which runs similar schemes across the country, has been commissioned to run a pilot service which is due to launch next year.
It is being funded by the Bedfordshire Violence and Exploitation Reduction Unit (VERU) as well as the serious violence duty, a landmark new national programme which encourages different agencies to work together to tackle things like knife crime and county lines.
The project is being coordinated by the Office of the Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
David Kirby, Consultant-Emergency Medicine at Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We have been incredibly supportive of this programme for some time now, so am pleased that we will now have crisis workers embedded in the hospital to help these injured young people find a different path in life”.
PCC Festus Akinbusoye added: “Experts who work with young people will often talk about teachable moments, key points in a young person’s life where they can make important decisions about their future.
“Attendance at hospital is one of those moments. Experts from St Giles Trust will use their considerable experience and expertise to offer support and advice at a crucial moment which could help turn someone’s life around.
“I am pleased that we have been able to bring this service to Bedfordshire, alongside a whole host of other prevention and early intervention programmes we are supporting to tackle things like knife crime in our county.”