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Nov 27 2014

Mental Health Care Action Plan Announced in North West London

nhs_hospital-150x150Eight boroughs – a quarter of the capital – are the first in London and among the first nationally to win approval for mental health care action plan for two million people

North West London today became the first place in the capital – and only the second place across the UK – to have its action plan approved for the groundbreaking Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, the initiative to ensure better care for people in a mental health crisis.

The Declaration and action plan have been agreed by agencies involved in the commissioning and delivering of care for people in crisis. It sets out how organisations will work better together to provide urgent assessment and care where and when people need it.

Across North West London, 25 partner organisations have signed up to the Concordat, covering a population of two million people, including 32,000 living with serious mental illness. It contains some of the highest incidences of serious mental illness in the country.

All 25 organisations in North West London have agreed a joint plan of action for how they will work together to improve services, ensuring that more local people are able to live well in their communities and, in the event of a mental health crisis, ensure they are treated quickly, effectively, as close to home as possible, and supporting their longer-term recovery. It is this action plan which has now been approved – making NW London only the second place in the country to have had the official ‘green light’ to proceed.

Care and Support Minister, Norman Lamb, said: “Improving mental health crisis care is a major priority and our Crisis Care Concordat is helping make sure people in distress get the urgent, compassionate care they need. I’d like to congratulate North West London for signing their declaration and strongly urge others to follow suit. Better, more consistent and more collaborative care for people in crisis will not only help those living through their darkest hours to recover, it can also save lives. I want to make sure we cover the whole country by the end of the year so that we rapidly spread best practice.”

Policing Minister Mike Penning said: “The Home Secretary and I have made it a priority to vastly improve the way people with mental health issues are dealt with when they come into contact with the police. I am delighted to see Metropolitan Police in North West London have joined the NHS and other agencies to pledge their commitment to the Crisis Care Concordat.

​Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity said: “We are really pleased to see organisations in North West London getting together locally and taking the first steps toward improving the care of people in mental health crisis. We know that where excellent crisis care exists, it saves lives, but too often people fall through the cracks between different services and don’t get the help they need.]

Chief Inspector Daniel Thorpe, Mental Health Lead for the Metropolitan Police, said: “Over the last 18 months we and our partners in NW London have been working hard together to develop a single point of access, 24/7, for mental health. By calling this number, any professional, service user or carer in NWL will get access to expert advice and support and, where necessary, can request a home or Community based assessment.”

In North West London, the action plan for the Concordat has been led by the multi-agency NW London Mental Health Programme Board, chaired by Dr Fiona Butler, who is also chair of West London Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). The partners on the Board have been able to publish the declaration and delivery plan so early due to their strong history of working together.

In February 2014, 22 national bodies involved in health, policing, social care, housing, local government and the third sector came together and signed a national concordat. It focuses on four main areas: access to support before crisis point; urgent and emergency access to crisis care; quality of treatment and care when in crisis; and recovery and staying well.

Some of the specific initiatives underway in North West London are:

  • A single whole system ‘care pathway’, agreed between the key agencies to support, assess and manage anyone who asks any service for help in a mental health crisis;
  • A 24/7/365 single point of access for all professionals, service users and carers to use for support, advice, information and request assessment;
  • Seeking to ensure that Mental Health Detentions under Section 136 do not happen in police cells in NW London, and so avoid ‘criminalising’ the issue;
  • Introducing maximum waiting time standards for assessment, and providing more assessment in care in people’s homes and the community, 24/7, so people know when they will receive help and have much more choice over when and where they get it;
  • Development of a new ‘community living well’ service to support and sustain recovery for people who have long-term mental health needs, which will work to prevent crises happening, improve well-being and support people to live the lives they want to.
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