‘Important moment for vulnerable people’ – Norfolk commits to improve support for those with mental health issues
Norfolk has taken a significant step towards improving support for those with mental health issues with the signing of a key agreement.
A Norfolk Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat was signed on Friday 21st March by Norfolk MP Norman Lamb, Minister for Care and Support, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Jenny McKibben and key players from organisations across the county dealing with mental health.
The national initiative supports dramatic improvements across the country as part of a new agreement between police, mental health trusts and paramedics to improve mental health crisis care and potentially save lives. The agreement is aimed at driving up standards of care for people experiencing crisis and will help the numbers of people detained inappropriately in police cells.
Minister for Care and Norman Lamb MP: “I am delighted that all these different organisations have come together to show their commitment and come forward to be involved in taking this vital work forward. It is extremely heartening that all the organisations here today have agreed to work together, with no pressure from me I might add, to close the gaps between mental health and physical health.
“We must reduce the use of police cells for a start. The commitment made today, with the Police and Crime Commissioner and his deputy as a catalyst, will help move things forward and that is brilliant news.”
The Concordat sets out standards of care people should expect if they suffer a mental health crisis and details how the emergency services should respond. It challenges local services to make sure beds are always available for people who need them urgently and also that police custody should never be used just because mental health services are unavailable.
It also stipulates that police vehicles should not be used to transfer patients between hospitals and encourages services to get better at sharing essential need-to-know information about patients which could help keep them and the public safe.
Jenny McKibben: “I am delighted Norman Lamb could be here to sign Norfolk’s concordat as this was his national initiative. You could say it is a vital national agreement which was born in Norfolk. This agreement gives us a chance to build on our ambitions for Norfolk around mental health and our aim must be to get parity between mental health and physical health and turn our plans into actions. This is an important moment for vulnerable people in Norfolk.”
Organisations signing the concordat included MIND, the NHS Foundation Trust, Norfolk & Suffolk Ambulance Trust, Norfolk Constabulary and Norfolk County Council.