Norfolk has become the first in the country to formally commit to the Government’s Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat.
Having demonstrated their commitment to improving the system of care and support for people in mental health crisis at an event organised by the county’s Police and Crime Commissioner earlier in the year, partner agencies have now come together to develop a local declaration setting out what the public can expect from them.
“I am absolutely delighted to see Norfolk leading the way nationally on such an important aspect of caring for people with mental health problems.” Care Minister Norman Lamb MP
PCC Stephen Bett said: “Norfolk’s declaration is the foundation upon which we will build our approach to improving outcomes for people experiencing mental health crisis, tailored to local need.
“It is a fundamental building block in the development of a comprehensive local action plan which will ensure the delivery of effective services to keep Norfolk safe and well.”
Minister for Care, and Norfolk MP, Norman Lamb, who met with partner agencies in the county earlier in the year to discuss the aims of the Concordat, said: “When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis, it is essential that they feel able to access the help they need – and quickly.
“I am determined that there must be effective mental health crisis support available when it is needed. The Crisis Care Concordat represents a shared commitment across our public services to address that imbalance, and ensure better care across the system to make a very real and positive difference to people’s lives.
“I am absolutely delighted to see Norfolk leading the way nationally on such an important aspect of caring for people with mental health problems.”
Amanda Hedley, Chief Executive of Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind, said: “Nationally, Mind has played an important role in shaping the roll-out of the Crisis Care Concordat across the country. Norwich and Central Norfolk Mind are pleased to have signed our local Concordat and are looking forward to working with partners to develop and implement the joint action plan.
“People who use our services, and other mental health services, consistently tell us of the gaps in crisis services – we are hopeful some good developments will come from this joined-up work.”
Together with service users and carers, partners have discussed the positive moves that have already been made to meet the aspirations of the Concordat. These include more mental health practitioners in the Norfolk Police control room and more staff for Section 136 suites, where people detained by police for mental health reasons are looked after. Both of these improvements have been funded by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in Norfolk and provided by Norfolk and Suffolk (mental health) NHS Foundation Trust.
The partners have also discussed pathways to ensure patients move out of acute mental health hospitals as quickly as possible when they are ready for discharge.
Norfolk’s declaration statement has been initially been signed by: The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, Norfolk Constabulary, North Norfolk CCG, Norfolk County Council, East of England Ambulance Service, Mind (Norwich and Central Norfolk), Norfolk Recovery Partnership, NHS England, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust and Healthwatch Norfolk.
All regions in England and Wales are required to publish their local action plan by December. As well as including specific detail of how the commitments in the declaration will be met, the action plan will act as a monitoring tool to track service improvements and enable partners to hold one another to account for playing their role in closing the gaps between mental health and physical health.