The Government has today published “Reforming the Mental Health Act” – a revolutionary White Paper aimed at improving provision of services and the system itself. I was privileged to serve on the independent review and Chair the Police Working Group.
I’m pleased that the Government is taking forward the recommendations that were made. Some highlights:
“We have committed to reform the MHA to stop the use of police cells as places of safety by 2023 to 2024.”
Not the police’s fault this happened – and use is already falling by choice and design.
On conveyance, people were more likely to be transported by police than health services after being detained by police under section 136.
“The NHS Long Term Plan commits to investment to improve the capacity and capability of ambulance services to meet mental health demand – helping to avoid the use of the police.”
On the time spent dealing with s136 cases:
“We will establish a national agreement between mental health services, social care and the police to ensure that people detained under section 136 are safely and effectively transferred into health services in a timely way”
Other issues addressed include options around the commissioning of health services in police custody and monitoring of police interactions with people from BAME backgrounds.
The White Paper takes on the recommendations that Chief Constable Mark Collins and I helped to make. Well done to everyone involved!