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Newcastle Crown Court mental health team

Up to Implementation Plans
July 09. 2012
ann attwood

In December 2011 the DoH agreed to fund a specialist mental health liaison service at Newcastle Crown Court which commenced on the 23rd April 2012.

The team comprises of a forensic psychiatric nurse, a consultant psychiatrist, a specialist lawyer and a team assistant.  Not all posts are funded from the DH bid. 

Progress to date

The team has been involved with over fifty in cases since 23rd April 2012.  We accept referrals from all court users however to date the greatest users have been the Judiciary and counsel.  Team members have been involved in a range of activities;

  • Active case management - regular phone calls with the defence team, CPS, and psychiatrists preparing reports.
  • Face to face assessments by the psychiatric nurse, allowing many cases that would normally have required a 6-8 week adjournment to be dealt with on the day
  • Advice regarding instruction of specialist psychiatrists (for example in cases where there is an ABI, autism...)
  • Providing verbal advice in court by the legal member of the team
  • Legal advice regarding the Mental Health Act and other related legislation 
  • Assisting probation
  • Liaison with prison health care regarding cases where section 48 is required
  • We have developed templates for referrals, consent and nursing reports to the court. 

We additionally have an agreement with the Legal services Commissionand  I am told by solicitors that this is greatly speeding up legal aid applications for medical reports.  Time is now generally between 24 and 48 hour return.


We have received many positive comments -Some examples-“This team is of enormous benefit and value.  I am so pleased they are involved this is a very sad case.  At least now this team has got the ball rolling with this man pointing you in the right direction…”

HHJ - “Express thanks .. who has today demonstrated, as in other cases since the team was implemented only a month ago, the enormous benefit of a mental health team and in particular her being here.  This case is a great tribute to the teamThis morning unless the team were here would have resulted in further extraordinary delay. I want this passed on and recorded that the savings since the mental health team has been in place are obvious. More so, here is a man who has been in prison for six months who clearly needs to be assessed as soon as possible and not to be in prison a day longer and only with intervention has it been dealt with today.  This is a fantastic result”


Data is being collected on a monthly basis

I would like to offer a warm welcome to anyone who would like tovisit the project.


Ann Attwood

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