Better care for mental health crisis

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Better care for mental health crisis

A new agreement between police and the NHS seeks to improve mental health crisis care

Emergency support for people in mental health crisis is set to see dramatic improvements across the country as part of a far-reaching new agreement between police, mental health trusts and paramedics.

The agreement – called the Crisis Care Concordat – has been signed by more than 20 national organisations in a bid to drive up standards of care for people experiencing crisis such as suicidal thoughts or significant anxiety.

The Concordat, announced today by Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb, will help cut the numbers of people detained inappropriately in police cells and drive out the variation in standards across the country.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said:

“ A mental health crisis can already be distressing for individuals and all those involved, but when people aren’t getting the right support or care it can have very serious consequences. It’s unacceptable that there are incidents where young people and even children can end up in a police cell because the right mental health service isn’t available to them. “ That’s why we’re taking action across the country and across organisations to make sure those with mental health problems are receiving the emergency care they need. “ We want to build a fairer society – one where mental health is as important as physical health – and the Crisis Care Concordat is an important step towards addressing this disparity.”   The concordat, which has already been signed by 22 organisations including NHS England, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, sets out the standards of care people should expect if they suffer a mental health crisis and details how the emergency services should respond.

It challenges local services to make sure beds are always available for people who need them urgently and also that police custody should never be used just because mental health services are not available. It also stipulates that police vehicles should not be used to transfer patients between hospitals and encourages services to get better at sharing essential need-to-know information about patients which could help keep them and the public safe.


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