People in mental health emergencies will be able to access more care in the community, for example in crisis houses and shelters, and people detained under the Mental Health Act will benefit from historic reforms that will give patients more control over their care and treatment. .
An investment of £150million over the next three years will strengthen NHS mental health services, better support people in crisis outside of A&E and improve patient safety in mental health units. These are 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 £7million for specialist mental health ambulances across the country to reduce the use of general ambulance calls for people in mental health crisis and prevent the inappropriate use of emergency vehicles. police as a means of getting people to the hospital. This will ease pressure on services, improve response times and outcomes for people in crisis, which will help save lives, while ensuring that patients in crisis are treated with dignity and respect.
The government also today released its Mental Health Bill, which provides for sweeping reform of mental health law to ensure greater choice and autonomy for patients in mental health crisis. They will also aim to address racial disparities in mental health services, better meet the needs of people with learning disabilities and people with autism, and ensure appropriate care for people with serious mental illness within of the criminal justice system.
The bill is now undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny in which a select parliamentary committee will examine the bill in detail before the government publishes a final version.
Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said:
This is an important time to support people with serious mental health issues.
We are investing more money to ensure NHS patients receive the right services and support, so people in mental health emergencies get the right care at the right time.
Our reforms to the outdated Mental Health Act are another important step to better support people with serious mental health issues and give people greater control over their treatment, especially those from ethnic minorities who are incarcerated. disproportionately under the law. »
The funding will also help local communities invest in alternatives to hospitalization for people in mental health crisis, such as ‘crisis houses’ run by the voluntary sector, which will ensure people can access the treatment they need. need in their community.
Increasing local capacity will reduce avoidable hospitalizations and inappropriate placements outside the region. This will result in better patient outcomes, as people in crisis can receive specialist treatment in appropriate settings, reducing the risk of readmission to hospital.
Ensuring patients get the right care early on will help free up hospital beds, helping the government’s ongoing mission to reduce Covid backlogs.
Mental Health Minister Gillian Keegan said:
It is crucial that NHS mental health care and treatment works for people.
I have heard firsthand the anguish of patients and their families when they have been subjected to inappropriate care. Strengthening the mental health support available to people in crisis will ensure that patients are at the center of decisions about their own care if they are detained under the law.
I look forward to receiving the committee’s comments on the draft bill so that we can bring the law into the 21st century. »
NHS Mental Health Director Claire Murdoch said:
This is an important and welcome step towards much-needed reform of the Mental Health Act and I look forward to working with the government to develop a plan to implement these changes.
The NHS long-term plan is expanding and improving mental health services across the country – from specialist mental health ambulances, opening new buildings and renovating older ones – this much-needed funding will upgrade facilities and, more importantly , will ensure that mental health patients have access to the best and most appropriate care when they need it.”
Reforms to the Mental Health Act will help address deep health disparities, ensuring everyone is treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and ending the stigma of mental illness once and for all. mental illness. This includes the disproportionate number of people from black, Asian and ethnic minority communities detained under the Mental Health Act. Blacks are more than four times more likely to be detained under the law and more than 10 times more likely to be subject to a community treatment order.
The work is already underway – improved and culturally sensitive advocacy services are being piloted in four regions of England so that people from ethnic minorities can be better supported by people who understand their needs and the NHS England is developing a patient-caregiver equality framework to provide mental health trusts with practical steps to improve the experience of care within mental health services for people from ethnic minority communities.
The reforms will also change the way people with learning disabilities and people with autism are treated under the law by establishing that neither learning disabilities nor autism should be considered as grounds for which a person may be detained for treatment under Section 3 of the Act. Instead, people with a learning disability or people with autism could only be detained for treatment if a mental health problem is identified by clinicians.
The benefits of reform will also be felt by people with serious mental illness in the criminal justice system. A 28-day deadline will speed up the transfer of inmates to hospital, ending unnecessary delays and ensuring they receive the right treatment at the right time, and the outdated practice of using prisons as “places of security” for defendants with acute mental illness end. Instead, judges will work with medical professionals to ensure defendants can still be taken directly to a medical facility from court.
Prisons Minister Victoria Atkins said:
It is essential that members of the criminal justice system receive the right mental health support, so that we can keep them and the public safe while reducing crime.
The new mental health bill will speed up access to treatment, enshrine important protections for vulnerable people and ensure that prisons are not used as an alternative to hospital treatment.”
The reforms will also take steps to ensure parity between mental health and physical health services. The Government is already investing more than £400m to eradicate dormitories in mental health facilities as part of its response to Sir Simon’s recommendations so that people admitted to hospital can receive care in a modern and truly therapeutic.
More broadly, the government is expanding and transforming mental health services to meet growing demand by investing an extra £2.3bn a year to expand and transform services in England, which will help 2million more people access to mental health services by 2023/24.