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Mental health ambulances and £150 million investment for mental health services

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced a £150 million investment over the next three years to bolster NHS mental health services, better support people in crisis outside of A&E and enhance patient safety in mental health units. These were all recommendations from Professor Sir Simon Wessely’s independent review of the Mental Health Act which will now be implemented to improve patient care.

The funding includes £7 million for specialised mental health ambulances across the country to reduce the use of general ambulance call outs for those experiencing a mental health crisis and prevent the inappropriate use of police vehicles as a way to take people to hospital.

People experiencing a mental health emergency will be able to access more care in the community, such through as crisis houses and safe havens, and those detained under the Mental Health Act will benefit from landmark reforms which provide patients with more control over their care and treatment.

Funding will also support local communities to invest in alternatives to hospital admission for people experiencing a mental health crisis, such as ‘crisis houses’ run by the voluntary sector which will ensure people can access the treatment they need within their community.

Increasing local capacity will reduce avoidable hospital admissions and inappropriate out of area hospital placements. This will result in improved patient outcomes as people in crisis will be able to receive specialised treatment in appropriate environments, reducing the risk of readmission to hospital.

Mental Health Bill

The government has also published its draft Mental Health Bill, setting out wide-ranging reform to the Mental Health Act to ensure greater choice and autonomy for patients in a mental health crisis. They will also aim to tackle the racial disparities in mental health services, better meet the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people and ensure appropriate care for people with serious mental illness within the criminal justice system.

The draft bill is now subject to pre-legislative scrutiny where a parliamentary select committee will examine the draft in detail before the government publishes a final version.

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: “This is a significant moment in supporting people with serious mental health issues.

“We’re investing more money to ensure NHS patients have tailored services and support, so people in a mental health emergency get the right care at the right time. Our reforms to the outdated Mental Health Act are another important milestone in better supporting those with serious mental health issues and giving people greater control over their treatment, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds who are disproportionately detained under the Act.”

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Emma Cooper
Emma Cooper
Emma is Digital Editor at Pf.

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