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2.11 Out of Hours Services and Emergency Duty Teams

1. Introduction

Local out of hours (social care and health) and emergency duty teams operate out of normal working hours, at weekends and over statutory holidays.

2. Making a Referral

If a referral is made to the out of hours team which indicates an immediate or urgent risk, the officer receiving the referral will take any steps necessary to protect the adult including arranging emergency medical treatment, contacting the police and taking any other action to ensure that the adult is safe. Out of hours staff must also be aware that, if responding to an emergency other adults may also be at risk. See Local Contacts for details of the out of hours / emergency duty teams.

3. Role of the Out of Hours Team

A member of the out of hours team would not be responsible for a safeguarding adults enquiry but it may be necessary to speak with the alleged victim where:

  • the allegation is serious that is, life threatening or likely to result in serious injury (in which case action would be coordinated with the police to ensure any evidence is preserved);
  • the referral is unclear;
  • there is a need to speak with the adult to ensure they can be safeguarded against further abuse if necessary (if appropriate this would need to be coordinated with the police to ensure the preservation of evidence).

Whether or not any immediate action is necessary the out of hours worker or emergency duty officer will record the facts concerning the alleged abuse or neglect and pass all relevant information to the appropriate duty team in adult social care or to a mental health team on the next working day. If the case is already allocated the out of hours worker will notify the allocated worker.

In a situation where staff who work for other organisations, including health services and those who work out of hours, become aware that an adult is being abused or neglected, they should call the emergency services if the adult is at serious risk of immediate harm, and the local authority emergency duty team or emergency out of hours team if an immediate protection plan needs to be put in place.

If the situation does not indicate an immediate risk of harm, staff working out of hours will refer to the appropriate local authority referral point on the next working day. They will also refer to the appropriate person in their own organisation.

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