Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) today supports the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) call for better access to places of safety for those experiencing a mental health crisis. By working with Greater Manchester Police (GMP), GMW is improving the quality and effectiveness of care and the experience of people detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. This is the police’s power to remove individuals who appear to be suffering from mental disorders in public places to a designated place of safety where a mental health assessment can be undertaken. This should be located in a mental health hospital or an emergency department at a general hospital.
Overall, the CQC’s findings suggest “that while some health-based places of safety are effective, others are less responsive to people’s needs and require far reaching improvements.”
In the districts that GMW serves, three places of safety are located at Royal Bolton Hospital, the Meadowbrook unit in the grounds of Salford Royal and Trafford General Hospital. Upon opening the Bolton section 136 suite, Sir Peter Fahy, Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police said, “Working with mental health organisations like GMW has meant that we get the necessary, appropriate help for those who are in need of it. We have had great co-operation from all the staff at Bolton Hospital and the result is a better service for vulnerable people”
However, the Trust’s work with police does not end there. In Salford, mental health professionals have worked closely with GMP to deliver training such as; ‘A day in the life of mental health’ for all divisional sergeants and inspectors and involves shadowing mental health ward managers and the mental health team based in emergency department. Police officers who have attended the training have said, “We wish we could have received something like this when we were younger in service.”
GMW also works closely with the courts and criminal justice system across its specialist services as well as providing mental health services in ten prisons including male and female institutions and a young offenders’ institute. The Trust has developed expertise in working in prison establishments and its services aim to meet offenders’ needs and to provide a seamless, supported transition back into the community.
Bev Humphrey, Chief Executive of GMW commented: “The police and mental health services must work closely together to ensure that people in crisis get the best care as soon as possible. I am extremely proud of our close working relationship with Greater Manchester Police and they share our belief that public safety and appropriate care and treatment of individuals in crisis are of paramount importance.
“The places of safety across Bolton, Salford and Trafford are prime examples of effective working with our police colleagues. We share the strong opinion that police cells or a generic emergency department are not appropriate places for someone in crisis and that the Bolton, Salford and Trafford places of safety must be the norm. We applaud the CQC for highlighting this issue and encouraging a commonality of care up and down the country.”
Notes for Editors
1. Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMW) provides district mental health services in Bolton, Salford and Trafford. GMW also provides substance misuse services in Salford, Trafford, Wigan and Leigh, Blackburn with Darwen, Central Lancashire and Cumbria.
2. GMW delivers specialist mental health and substance misuse inpatient services throughout Greater Manchester and the wider North.
3. The referenced CQC survey can be found at http://www.cqc.org.uk/content/safer-place-be.
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