UTTOXETER’S MP has joined Staffordshire’s police and crime commissioner in welcoming the news that the number of cases where people having a mental health crisis are being detained in police cells is to be halved.
Andrew Griffiths and Matthew Ellis welcomed proposals for a major change in the way mental health crisis services are delivered across Staffordshire to be implemented over the next year.
Senior representatives from health, social care, local authorities and police signed up to reinforcing that custody cells are the wrong place for individuals with a mental health condition to be held unless they have committed an offence.
Mr Griffiths told the Advertiser: “I am really pleased that the home secretary reached this decision on mental health care.
“However I continue to be concerned about the provision of mental health care in Uttoxeter, especially when people reach crisis point.
“I have seen in my own surgeries cases where ill people have had to be kept in police cells when they should be in mental health facilities for their own wellbeing.
“Keeping people with mental health issues in cells is first of all not good for the patient and second of all it is taking up the use of police resources.”
Figures released last year revealed around one in five incidents Staffordshire Police was alerted to involved someone with mental health issues.
An agreement signed by 22 national health organisations including the Department of Health, the Home Office and Mind is aimed at improving the treatment of people having a mental health crisis.
The ‘crisis care concordat’ states that police custody should not be used because mental health services are unavailable and that police cars should not be used as ambulances to transfer patients, as well as calling for more beds and secure shelter.
Mr Ellis said the report highlighted a lack of joined-up services and appropriate support.