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Praise for excellent 'place of safety' services

29 Jan 2014

West London Mental Health NHS Trust is at the forefront of providing vital ‘place of safety’ services for people in crisis.

Research published by the BBC criticises the NHS for its lack of ‘place of safety’ arrangements.  It found more than 300 young people under the age of 18 were detained in police cells in the first 11 months of 2013 because mental health hospitals did not have section 136 suites available.

Trust medical director, Dr Nick Broughton, said: “When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis of some kind to the extent that they pose a risk to themselves or in rare circumstances others and they are detained by the police under this section of the Mental Health Act, it is essential that they can be promptly taken to a place where they can be safely assessed and supported.  This is absolutely vital to ensure patients get the care they need in a crisis.”

Last summer, West London Mental Health NHS Trust received widespread praise for its ‘place of safety’ services.  The Mental Health Partnership Board for London commended the trust for improving its designated ‘places of safety’ services and ensuring mentally ill people can be seen, even when the Section 136 suites are occupied.

Dr Broughton added: “We have one ‘place of safety’ suite in each of the three boroughs we serve.  When these are in use, as only one person can be seen in each suite at a time, we have arrangements to ensure that patients can be assessed in alternative facilities on site until the suite becomes available.”