Today the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act was published, calling for improved rights for those people detained under the Mental Health Act. This includes ensuring that service users’ views and choices are respected, and less frequent use of police cars to transport people who are experiencing mental health crisis.
“The Independent Review of the Mental Health Act presents a fundamental shift in mental health care, putting service users at the heart of making decisions about the care they receive. This is something we called for in our report Be the Change earlier this year, as well as alternatives to detaining those experiencing a mental health crisis, clear outcome metrics to support quality improvement and closer working between different organisations.
“However, the Review alone cannot change the law; we now need Government to implement the recommendations and ensure that the funding is available at the local level so that those in need of support will get the right care, in the right place, at the right time – and that they are treated with kindness, empathy and dignity throughout their treatment. This means not only supporting those who are experiencing mental health crises but also strengthening core mental health services and funding prevention programmes to help prevent people reaching crisis point in the first place.”
Commenting on the recommendations on the ambulance response to people in mental health crisis, Yvonne Rispin, Chair of NHSCC’s National Ambulance Commissioners Network (NACN) and Director of Ambulance Commissioning (North West), and Rachael Ellis, joint project lead on NACN’s Mental Health and Ambulance Project and Chief Officer Integrated Urgent Care (West Midlands Region), said:
“We support the recommendation to establish formal standards for responding to mental health crisis calls. The National Ambulance Commissioners Network has already been working alongside the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and other key partners to improve the assessment, referral and conveyancing of people experiencing mental health crisis. We agree that increasing and improving the ambulance response, including in some cases the dispatch of bespoke mental health vehicles, is essential to enable patients to receive the best care possible in the most appropriate place. It was reassuring to see funding for this announced in the Autumn Budget, but the scale of the problem cannot be underestimated.”
Paul Jenkins OBE, Chair of the Mental Health Network, part of NHS Confederation, welcomed the review’s recommendations, adding that “restricting someone’s liberty should always be a last resort. Putting this right requires all of us taking steps to ensure we close the gap in terms of inequalities in access and outcomes.” Read the full response.
6 December 2018