The Department of Health (DoH) has said that the Crisis Care Concordat – a programme to improve standards in mental health crisis care across the country – reduces use of police cells as a “place of safety” by more than 50% for people experiencing a mental health crisis.
The DoH says that, since it was launched in February 2014, the Concordat has resulted in a 55% reduction in England in the use of police cells as a place of safety for people detained under the Mental Health Act since 2011-2012 – and a 34% reduction since 2013-2014.
The scheme has also led to nearly 10,000 people receiving emergency attention from mental health nurses working alongside police officers in street triage schemes – with more than 9,350 people helped by the street triage programme in just 12 months across the nine areas where pilots have been running.
The DoH says that a further 17 areas now have street triage schemes as a result of the success of the initial pilot schemes.
A total of ten ambulance trusts have also signed up to 30-minute targets for paramedics to respond to mental health crises, where the police have been the first to the scene.
Previously, people in mental health crises were not routinely treated as emergencies. However, the coalition government and the Conservative government have said that mental health must be given parity with physical health.
The scheme is agreed by local councils, health and police services to ensure that health-based places of safety are available 24/7 for anyone who experiences a mental health crisis.
Under the Crisis Care Concordat, police custody should not be used because mental health services are not available – and a 24-hour helpline should be available for people with mental health problems with the crisis resolution team able to respond 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Alongside the Concordat, NHS England is also investing £30 million in 2015-2016, to help the one million people who attend A&E every year with mental ill health receive better care.
Liaison psychiatry services will ensure that mental health care is given parity alongside physical treatment – for every £1 invested on liaison psychiatry services, the NHS could save up to £3.
Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt, said:
“Having a mental illness is not a crime – anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should be treated with the same urgency and compassion as someone with a broken leg, rather than ending up in a police cell.
“Too often this has not been the case – but every part of the country is working hard to change that.
“I’m proud of these results – and I’m determined to build on this further, so that everyone in crisis gets the care they need in the right place at the right time.”
Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors
Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors can advise mental health patients on issues such as detention under the Mental Health Act and access to mental health services.
Duncan Lewis mental health solicitors regularly visit hospitals and police stations to advise on mental health law – and are available at short notice for appointments nationwide.
For expert legal advice on mental health law, call the Duncan Lewis Mental Health Solicitors Helpline on 0203 114 1124.