Responding to the launch of a new 24/7 advice line for London police officers to seek rapid support from mental health specialists when they attend incidents, as part of the Right Care, Right Person programme, Sean Duggan, chief executive of NHS Confederation’s mental health network, said:
“Health leaders believe that the Right Care, Right Person approach of ensuring that people experiencing mental health crises are seen first by the most appropriate person to meet their needs is a sensible one.
“The launch of a hotline for Met police officers attending incidents to access rapid advice from mental health specialists is welcome, and will help officers deal with those in crisis in a sensitive and appropriate way, while ensuring that detainment of an individual under section 136 is a last resort.
“It should be the NHS or partners who primarily support mental health patients, not the police, but moving towards this approach will require significant additional capacity in already stretched mental health services. Implementing Right Care, Right Person will require system wide planning and monitoring, to produce good outcomes for all and to minimise any risks to patients, therefore health leaders support the phased transition period.
“But its full realisation will be dependent on resourcing, and the government should use the Autumn statement as an opportunity to provide mental health services with the support they so desperately need.”