Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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PCC's Targeted Health Scheme helping officers back to the frontline
Bedfordshire’s police officers and staff are being helped back to the frontline thanks to a health scheme funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner which pays for treatment and helps those who are injured or unwell and facing significant delays in accessing treatment.  

The scheme which was launched by Bedfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Kathryn Holloway, in May 2017, provides diagnosis and treatment for unwell or injured officers and operational staff to speed up their recovery to full fitness and a return to duty.  Since it was introduced 13 officers have been given the opportunity to avoid lengthy waiting times for both diagnostics and treatment, allowing them to recover and return to work far more quickly, relieving them of pain and avoiding further depletion of the Force’s notoriously overstretched frontline.

“I’m absolutely delighted that this scheme is making a real difference in returning officers and operational staff more quickly than if they had to wait for treatment as the public in Bedfordshire do not have a single officer to lose on our stretched frontline. The scheme covers both Physiotherapy and access to diagnostics like MRI scans and minor surgery,” said Commissioner Holloway.

One Bedfordshire Police Firearms officer who had been suffering with a shoulder injury (which repeatedly dislocated) found that despite visiting various doctors and osteopaths his symptoms became worse and, following a sixth dislocation, a medical specialist advised he should not return to the frontline until he had been operated on.  

After learning of the Targeted Health Scheme the officer made an application to the Occupation Health Department which was supported by his Inspector and approved in February 2018.  As a result he received the hour-long operation he needed to stabilise his shoulder with metal hooks, which took place in March and, after five months' recovery, the officer has returned to his full frontline firearms duty. 

Upon his return the officer said: “After the sixth dislocation, I followed the usual path within the NHS system and the specialist made it clear that, in order for me to return to frontline policing, I would require an operation to stabilise the injured shoulder. I discussed this with my supervisor who was rightly concerned by the length of time I would be away from my core role and it was at this point I became aware of the Targeted Health Scheme.

“As soon as we submitted the forms, I was amazed by how quickly things moved forward.  Within days I received a call stating the application would be supported and I could request the operation which was then booked within four weeks.  After that the Force dealt with everything and liaised with the hospital regarding finance, which left me to only worry about personal elements surrounding the operation, such as childcare.

“I can’t praise the scheme enough.  I was facing restricted duty, away from frontline policing in excess of a year, as it is I have now returned to full duties. The support I received was incredible and I would definitely recommend the scheme to other officers, especially those struggling like I have with the prospect of spending a large amount of time away from the frontline.”

Being placed on restricted duty for six months would have cost the Force approximately £12,000.  However, through the Targeted Health Scheme paying £5,000 for the operation, over £7,000 was saved, the officer was out of pain and was able to return to frontline duties much faster. 

“We need every single officer we can get but the loss of a specialist firearms officer is, clearly, a particular stress point for the Force. Without the Targeted Healthcare Scheme, this officer would not have been able to get back to full duties anywhere near as quickly as he has now been able to do,” added the PCC.

Bedfordshire’s Police Federation Chairman, Jim Mallen, said: “The Targeted Health Scheme has now helped a number of Police Officers return to full front line duties far quicker. Getting officers back on patrol more speedily, following injuries, benefits the public by providing reassurance and visibility, but also helps those injured officers regain full fitness sooner thus reducing sickness absences across our already stretched county police service.”