People experiencing a mental health emergency will be able to access more care in the community, such 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.
A £150 million investment over the next three years will 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. This will ease pressure on services, improve response times and outcomes for people in crisis which will help save lives, as well as ensuring patients experiencing a crisis are treated with dignity and respect.
The government has also published its draft Mental Health Bill this week 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.
Welcoming the news was St Austell and Newquay’s Member of Parliament Steve Double who said:
“A recent report showed that on average 66 people die each year as a result of suicide in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, that means there is the equivalent of one suicide every 5.5 days. The suicide rate in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is higher than both the south west and national average. This is not acceptable, and I welcome the additional funding and investment into our NHS mental health services announced this week. This will improve the support given to people needing to access these services in Cornwall, who are often incredibly vulnerable and at crisis point.”
“I have long championed the need to treat mental health problems at the same level as physical issues and these Government reforms go a long to addressing these long-term issues.”
“I will be sitting on the Bill Committee for this legislation as part of the extensive scrutiny process new laws go through, and look forward to working with colleagues from across Parliament to ensure these reforms work for all.”
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