A safer place to be: findings from our survey of health-based places of safety for people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act

Document type
Survey
Corporate author(s)
Great Britain. Care Quality Commission
Publisher
Care Quality Commission
Date of publication
1 October 2014
Subject(s)
Mental health services, Health Services
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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In January and February 2014 the Care Quality Commission carried out a survey of NHS mental health trusts and social enterprise providers of health-based places of safety in England. The purpose of this survey was to examine the provision and use of health-based places of safety for people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act (the power that police officers have to detain people, believed to have a mental disorder, in a public place and to take them to a place of safety for assessment), especially as a means of understanding the availability and accessibility of the places of safety. Overall results showed that some places of safety are operating effectively, with innovative examples of positive practice and organisational developments. However, there was also evidence that recommended national standards are not being fully met in a range of areas. There are four key findings that need to be urgently addressed:

  1. Too many places of safety are turning people away or requiring people to wait for long periods with the police, because they are already full or because there are staffing problems.
  2. Too many providers operate policies that exclude young people, people who are intoxicated, and people with disturbed behaviour from all of their places of safety.
  3. Too many commissioners are not adequately fulfilling their responsibilities for maintaining an oversight of the section 136 pathway.
  4. Too many providers are not appropriately monitoring their own service provision. This makes it difficult for those providers and their commissioners to evaluate if provision is meeting the needs of people in their local area.

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