SANE comments on £150 million for mental health services
The government has said it will spend £150million up to April 2025 to better support people experiencing – or at risk of experiencing – mental health crises to receive care and support in more appropriate settings outside of A&E.
Anyone experiencing a mental health emergency will benefit from more tailored emergency care and support in the community through specialised ambulances, more crisis services and improved health-based places of safety.
Marjorie Wallace CBE, founder and chief executive of SANE, commented: “We welcome the Prime Minister’s good intentions and extra funding for services that have been so depleted in recent years; especially after it was reported that up to one in five calls to NHS helplines can go unanswered.
“Our experience is that many people who reach crisis point are unable to find or receive specialist help and support at a time when they need it most.
“More money will only be effective this time if it is put towards ensuring that every trust has a sufficient number of mental health crisis beds, so that people in distress are not shunted around the country to out-of-area placements and are able to receive tailored local treatment and consistent follow-up care.”
Patients presenting with mental health problems are twice as likely to spend 12 hours or more in emergency departments than other patients, according to the Royal College of Emergency Medicine.
While some of these patients will be in A&E for urgent medical care, the government said that often they would be better treated elsewhere.
The funding, announced last year, will allow for the procurement of up to 100 new mental health ambulances, which will take specialist staff directly to patients to deliver support on scene or transfer them to the most appropriate place for care.
It will also fund 150 new projects centred on supporting the provision of mental health crisis response and urgent mental health care.
Projects will include over 30 schemes providing crisis cafes, crisis houses and other similar safe spaces.
There will also be over 20 new or improved health-based places of safety which provide a safe space for people detained by the police. Improvements to NHS 111 and crisis phone lines will also be rolled out.
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