Well we are now well in to 2018 and thankfully we have all stopped wishing each other Happy New Year, and business has well and truly resumed for the PTC. We finished last year having treated almost 3300 patients in 2017, and although this number was slightly down by 2% on the 2016 figure, that was still a significant number of police patients who we helped to treat and support, and of course return to better health and wellbeing. It is also probably worthwhile highlighting the fact that almost 800 of our patients last year were treated on the Psychological Wellbeing Programme, and that this was an increase of 12% over the numbers for the previous year.
I continue to state that I want individuals to sign up to the PTC, but I also want them to apply for treatment when they need it, as I routinely find myself in conversation with people who tell me how they thought about coming at an earlier point in their career, but that it was not a good time for them either professionally or personally. My answer to this is that it is important to take a few weeks for yourself to get treated and fixed. Your work and your personal life will benefit from a short two week stay at the PTC. This was very much one of our themes in 2017 and during the year the PTC team briefed 91 groups of new student officers across our constituency area, to encourage them to sign up to the PTC.
We have started 2018 where we left off and I found myself briefing new student officer groups in Lancashire, GMP and Nottinghamshire in the first week of January when the PTC was still technically closed for the Christmas break. The Donor Engagement team have continued this motion over the last fe w weeks, briefing both new student officer groups and retirement seminars. Positively our pool of retired officer donors continues to grow, and there are now well over 3000 of them, and they provide significant financial support to the PTC; all of which is ploughed back into our centres to make them the best that they can be.
The PTC team have continued to spread the word about our work and attended a variety of events across our constituency area. This included representation by Peter Moore, our CFO, at the Roads Policing Conference in Leicester. The proceeds of the raffle held at the event were split between the PTC and Flint House (who provide an equivalent service in the South of England). I attended a Rugby Union Match in Newcastle between the English Police and the Scottish Police Teams. Notwithstanding the freezing February weather of a night fixture, the officials of both teams ran a collection on the night which generated both money and further awareness of the PTC.
There has been a steady flow of visitors already to the PTC this year which have included the Police and Crime Commissioners for Cheshire and North Wales, HMICFRS Sir Tom Winsor and the new President and Vice President of NARPO amongst many others. All of them announced how impressed they were with our Centres and the treatment that we provided, and were very conscious of the contribution that we make to both the efficiency and effectiveness within the Police Service.
I have pushed out on a variety of meetings and these included a wellbeing forum with Nick Hurd MP the Policing Minister in Westminster, and a meeting with our Patron HRH the Duke of York at Buckingham Palace. Both of them are very much aware of the challenges that Police Officers face on a daily basis and how this impacts on both their physical and mental health. It was an opportunity for me to explain in detail to both of them some of our recent work that we have completed in developing our Psychological Wellbeing Programme, which we plan to continue to develop and expand in response to the growing number of women and men who wish to access it.
Both of them were struck by the numbers of police patients attending the Psychological Wellbeing Programme and passed on their best wishes to our patients and the PTC employees. I also invited both of them to come and see us at the PTC for a more detailed brief on this aspect of our work, as we anticipate that this is only going to increase over time.
Hopefully most of you will remember the fantastic news that we received last November of the grant of £1.5 million that we were awarded by the LIBOR Bank Fine programme to expand the level of psychological support that we currently deliver. We are now well into the planning phase of how we are going to accomplish this, and of course have already started attempting to source the rest of the money that we need in order to do so from some of our other supporters. I will of course keep everyone briefed as the plans mature in the coming months. That I think is enough for the first blog of 2018, stay safe all.