No place but cells for those having mental breakdowns

This situation is the result of prolonger and covert capacity rationing. The rationing occurs in training, plant, support services and all aspects of mental health.

Alice Thomson, Rachel Sylvester in the Times 28th March 2016 report: No place but cells for those having mental breakdowns


The police are picking up the pieces for cuts to mental health services because they are the “bank that can’t say no”, according to the independent watchdog.

Dame Anne Owers, head of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said that forces would struggle with a law limiting the use of police cells for those suffering a mental health crisis because there was nowhere else to take them. “The criminal justice system becomes the gateway to mental health service because it’s the bank that can’t say no,” she said. “It’s no good just saying the police shouldn’t be dealing with these people; you’ve got to ask the question, ‘Who should?’ ”

Legislation going through parliament will make it illegal for children to be detained in a police cell during a mental health crisis and limit the circumstances in which adults can be held there. It is an issue on which The Times has been campaigning as part of its Time To Mind initiative.

Dame Anne said that apart from training the police to deal properly with people in mental health crisis there need to be many more services to deal with them. She said that half of the people who die in police custody or immediately afterwards are known to have mental health problems.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said that mental health was a significant problem. “We were treating it as a marginal issue when in fact 40 per cent of the people we come across have got a mental health issue,” he said.

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Rationing, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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