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London CCGs are improving mental health provision

London CCGs are improving mental health provision

Commissioners across London are involved in an investigation to improve mental health provision for people in London
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Commissioners across London are involved in an investigation to improve mental health provision for people in London.

The 32 London CCGs are looking at the provision of places of safety for people who are in mental distress in a public place.

They are drawing up a blueprint for the minimum standards of care they expect for service users in London.

It is part of a mental health project by the Healthy London Partnership (HLP), which was founded last May and comprises the capital’s CCGs and NHS England (London).

HLP is holding a month-long campaign for mental health care in London.

HLP is looking at the provision of the section 136 pathway and health-based places of safety where police can take people as part of their powers under the Mental Health Act.

The clinical director of HLP’s mental health crisis care programme Dr Emma Whicher called for co-ordinated multi-agency care for people in crisis.

She said: “There are 23 designated places in the capital but too often these are not available, unsuitable or already in use.”

She called for co-ordinated multi-agency care for people in crisis.

However, she said the use of section 136 of the Mental Health Act has increased by 9% over the past two years and was highest in young people.

“People in mental distress are forced to wait, sometimes for several hours, in unsuitable areas, such as emergency department waiting rooms or police cells.”

There had been a 79% reduction of  police cell use for people in mental distress, she said.

The majority of section 136 detentions happen outside working hours when the crisis care on offer is not the same as care provided during the working day and a quarter of facilities do not have dedicated staffing.

Whicher said: “When people have to wait for a health-based place of safety, this delays access to treatment and can compound a person’s distress, meaning it often takes them longer to recover.”

HLP will pilot the specification of standards at an integrated health-based place of safety.

HLP is also working on a programme to help prevent mental illness across London.

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