There is no other place to begin this guest blog than with the tremendous news of our partnership with Police Care UK which was announced this month. The generous support of Police Care UK will ensure that we can now commence with the building of a much needed expansion of our facilities at St Andrews that first and foremost will allow us to meet the ongoing growth in demand for our Psychological Wellbeing Programme. With assistance from Police Care UK, we also intend to develop a new intensive programme to specifically assist those experiencing symptoms of PTSD, something that will be a ground-breaking innovation and a vital addition to our service. The building project should commence before the end of the year and our Clinical Team have an exciting but challenging time ahead as we begin to plan for this amazing opportunity to develop a brand new treatment programme from scratch.
We were able to start that planning last week when St Andrews was closed due to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Road World Championships, taking place in Harrogate. The UCI Championships were a huge event for the area, bringing in many extra visitors, media and teams and St Andrews was right in the centre of the main race route. The Board of Trustees considered that St Andrews would likely have to run on reduced staff numbers due to the travel disruption, which would affect the high level of patient care and standard of treatment that we would be able to offer. It would also have been difficult for many patients to travel to the Centre and so it was decided to close St Andrews to patients and instead rent out our building in order to gain some extra revenue for the PTC.
During the week, St Andrews therefore played host to two of the UCI Teams, Team GB and Team Australia. It was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the work and the facilities available at the PTC on an international stage. The two teams both enjoyed a successful championship and it was exciting to see some of the top stars of the cycling world around the centre. All of the money raised during this time will go directly back into the Charity. It also gave staff the opportunity catch up on training and to pause for breath in a demanding year.
This year has been a busy year for cycling at St Andrews, with the fantastic Peloton of 22 riders raising over £31,000.00 for the Psychological Wellbeing Programme at the PTC. We hope to repeat this success next year and are currently deciding on plans for the 2020 Peloton. Check our website www.thepolicetreatmentcentres.org for further information this year, or if you are a keen cyclist and fancy a challenge…please get in touch!
We are currently right in the middle of a six month evaluation of our Psychological Wellbeing Programme which is being carried out by a research group from Robert Gordon University. The feedback and the clinical data we have collected ourselves for the Programme has been fantastic but it is vital that we regularly expose ourselves to external independent scrutiny to ensure that we are providing the best possible treatment for all our patients. The group are collecting statistical clinical outcome measures from anyone who attends the Programme at St Andrews or Castlebrae, between June and November this year and then also contacting Officers six weeks after they leave the Centres to look at how they have managed in the interim period. A representative sample of Officers, are also being contacted to conduct short telephone interviews to look in more depth at the effects of the Programme. We believe the study will provide us with a rich stream of evidence that can help us shape our services going forward. As ever, we are extremely grateful for the assistance of all the Officers who have consented to help us in this study – the extremely high number of participants will help to ensure that the findings and any associated recommendations will carry real weight.
An additional element of the project is that we have asked the researchers to carry out a review of any interventions around the globe that are aimed at improving the psychological wellbeing of Police Officers. We are genuinely leaving no stone unturned in our search to provide the most up to date and effective, evidence based treatment programmes we can for our officers; they deserve no less.
Mark Oxley, Head of Clinical Services