Today the NHS in London and the Metropolitan Police are implementing two new initiatives that will help people with urgent mental health needs get the right support, from the right person.
When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, they need to be supported by health specialists as quickly as possible – we know that’s important to our patients and families, and we know that’s what works.
Our Trust is part of the Cavendish Square Group, which represents the 10 mental health trusts in London. Through this group, we are working with the Metropolitan Police, London Ambulance Service, NHS England and local authorities to ensure the safe and effective rollout of the changes.
What is Right Care, Right Person?
Right Care, Right Person (RCRP) aims to deliver improvements to care pathways for people in London experiencing a mental health crisis so they receive support from the people most appropriately trained to deliver it.
The objective is to make sure the right agency, whether the London Ambulance Service or your local mental health trust, deals with health-related calls, instead of the police being the default first responder. It has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce demand on services.
What changes are taking place?
The police will continue to perform their role of keeping people safe. Where there is a real and immediate risk to life or serious harm (whether this be a person seeking to harm themselves or to harm others) officers will respond swiftly as they currently do.
The first new initiative will see changes to when police attend mental health incidents. If someone contacts the police about a mental health incident, police call handlers will check to see whether a police response is required or whether a health or care professional would be the best person to help. To ensure a safe rollout, there will be a phased transition to the new way of working.
The second initiative is the introduction of a dedicated specialist phone line for police officers. The new 24/7 service – the Section 136 coordination hub – will be available for police officers in south London to seek rapid support from mental health specialists when they attend incidents. A Section 136 situation is when a police officer may need to take someone in mental health crisis to a Place of Safety. The phone line will offer advice on whether applying a Section 136 is appropriate, details of the nearest Place of Safety and other local mental health services. This means together we can better support vulnerable people experiencing mental health crises.
What does this mean for me?
We hope that Londoners will start to see positive changes in the way people with mental health needs are treated in the capital.
If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health you should still come forward for support in the normal way. If it is an emergency call 999 or for urgent help that isn’t an emergency please continue to call our local Mental Health Crisis Line on 0800 731 2864 and choose option 1. Further information is available on our website or at www.nhs.uk.