Upgrade for health facilities in Harlow

Communities / Tue 23rd Aug 2016 am31 10:21am

THE Government has today (Tuesday, 23 August) awarded £819,000 to the North and South Essex Partnership University NHS Trusts to upgrade health-based places of safety which provide vital support for those in mental health crisis in the region.

The money will fund upgrades to existing places of safety across six locations in Basildon, Chelmsford, Colchester, Harlow and Rochford.

The money has been awarded from a £15m national fund from the Department of Health, as part of the Government’s ongoing commitment to ensure proper provision of health and community-based places of safety for people suffering a mental health crisis who have committed no crime from being placed in a police cell. In total, 41 projects will benefit from a share of a £15m fund in the first wave of bids.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“This Government is committed to ending the scandal of people in crisis being locked up in police cells.

“When a person is experiencing a mental health crisis they need the right care, in the right place and at the right time. We are fully committed to improving mental health services across the country and these projects will help support people at a crucial time.”

The bids, totalling £6.1m, have been awarded to 15 NHS trusts and partnership organisations covering ten police force areas where use of police cells as a place of safety has previously been amongst the highest. In 2014/15 police cells were used as a place of safety in Essex on 155 occasions, including five where someone under the age of 18 was detained in custody.

Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:

“We have seen good progress on our manifesto commitment to reduce the use of cells, with numbers dropping by 32 per cent across England and Wales in just one year. But there is still more to do, and the 41 projects announced today will provide vital facilities for those in crisis to ensure they get the compassionate care and support they need.

“The police should never be the default response for someone experiencing a mental health crisis.

“And we are going further, bringing important changes to legislation through the Policing and Crime Bill to ensure that police cells are only used as a place of safety for adults in exceptional circumstances, and will ban their use altogether for under 18s.”

The Government has also opened by bidding for the remaining £8.9m of funding to the rest of England. Through local Crisis Care Concordat groups, organisations, including Mental Health Trusts, Clinical Commissioning groups, police forces, local authorities and the voluntary and community sector, can bid for the funding through the gov.uk website.

The funding can be used for:

· Refurbishments or improvements to existing health-based places of safety, for example to increase capacity;
· Building new places of safety;
· Making existing places of safety suitable for use for people aged 18 and under;
· Creating mental health crisis cafes or places of calm;
· Ambulances for transportation to places of safety to ensure a police car is not used; and
· Vehicles for mobile street triage services for responding to mental health crises in the community.

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