A&E youth workers in Birmingham: A West Midlands first
Birmingham has become the first city in the West Midlands to
have youth workers based in A&E departments to help tackle
youth violence. The pioneering Youth Violence Intervention
Programme, managed by charity, Redthread, is now underway at
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust (UHB) as part
of a three-year pilot.
The programme embeds specialist youth workers - a Team Leader,
four Youth Workers and two Programme Coordinators - in the
Emergency Departments of Queen Elizabeth and Heartlands Hospitals.
The team meet young people aged 11 - 24 who have been the victim of
a serious assault including stabbings, gun crime, sexual assault
and domestic violence.
The purpose of the programme is to provide young people with the
tailored support needed to help them to keep away from involvement
in youth violence or exploitation, either as a victim or as a
The Youth Violence Intervention Programme started at King's
College Hospital 13 years ago and today operates in all four of
London's Major Trauma Centres and Queen's Medical Centre in
Nottingham. The Redthread team work alongside the clinical staff
and meet the young patients as soon as they can: in the A&E
waiting room, on the ward, or even in the resuscitation bay.
This moment of intense crisis, when the young person is nursing
a serious injury in the daunting environment of a busy hospital,
often alone, can be a catalyst for self-reflection and pursuing
positive change - a 'teachable moment'. After leaving the hospital,
Redthread mentor and advise the young person and support them to
make long-term positive plans.
The Midlands pilot will take place alongside a research project
undertaken by the University of Nottingham. A multidisciplinary
academic research team will be conducting a Stepped Wedge Design
Control Trial which will look to evaluate the impact of the service
across the health, social and policing landscape in Nottingham and
To deliver the programme in Birmingham, we have partnered with
University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and
organisations within West Midlands Violence Prevention
Alliance, namely the West Midlands Office of the Police and Crime
Redthread has received funding from The Health Foundation, UK
Home Office, Barrow Cadbury Trust, West Midlands Police and Crime
Commissioner to expand the service to Birmingham.
The West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson,
said: "The work these Youth Workers will be doing in Accident and
Emergency units is invaluable to my fight against violent
"We've seen gun and knife crime rise nationally and it is no
different here in the West Midlands.
"Intercepting young people whilst they are in A&E and
educating them about the dangers of their lifestyle is very
"This is just one of the many ways I am tackling the growing
problem of violent youth crime."
Jodie Berry, Redthread Team Leader at UHB, said: "It's been a
great first week, we are really excited to start working with young
people in Birmingham.
"In the last week, myself and the Redthread team have started to
meet young victims of serious youth violence and we are looking
forward to supporting young people to be healthy, safe and happy
John Poyton, CEO at Redthread said: "We are delighted to launch
the service in Birmingham. We know how important it is to meet
young people in the 'teachable moment' to be able to wrap around
support and empower them to make positive life changes going
Katie Wright, Emergency Department Consultant, University
Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, said: "We are really
excited to be welcoming new expertise to our Emergency Department
teams, helping us to help our children and young adults who are at
"By working with the Redthread team we hope to
provide extra support to break the cycle of violence, reducing
violent crime in our communities and preventing further attendances
to the Emergency Departments."
The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair, University Hospitals Birmingham
Foundation Trust, said: "We are delighted to be working with
Redthread to bring an extra dimension to the emergency care we
provide at the 'front door' of our hospitals.
"Victims of youth violence are at their most vulnerable when
they are brought into the Emergency Department: this service will
provide another level of support and potentially ensure these young
people no longer put themselves in dangerous situations that could
result in further serious injury, or worse."
Minister for Crime, Safeguarding and Vulnerability, Victoria
"Redthread provides a critical intervention to both victims
and perpetrators, intervening at the 'teachable' moment in a young
person's life and providing them with real support and options to
"I am pleased that as we deliver our Serious Violence Strategy
we continue to support organisations that work to tackle violence
and knife crime, including the successful expansion of Redthread to
hospitals in Birmingham and Nottingham.
"Our Serious Violence Strategy places a key emphasis on
providing early intervention and alternatives for young people, and
community engagement is at the heart of our ongoing approach."
The Health Foundation said, "We are very excited to be
working with Redthread and six other outstanding project teams who
have been selected as part of our Scaling Up Improvement
"We funded this project because of their expertise in scaling
complex improvement projects, and their ambition to achieve real
impact through improving the quality of care. We hope that the
launch of the new service in Birmingham will help the Redthread
approach become widely adopted across the UK.