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Aug
2017
Wednesday 30th
posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

Desperate families left with ‘scandalous lack of NHS provision’


POLICE are dealing with record levels of phone calls relating to mental-health issues, with failing NHS services being blamed.

The Metropolitan Police, Britain’s largest force, dealt with 115,000 calls last year, an average of 315 a day or 13 calls an hour.

The numbers, obtained by Labour under the Freedom of Information Act, have risen by a third since 2011-12 and officers say that it is part of a national trend.

Labour’s shadow police minister Louise Haigh said the numbers should act as a “wake-up call” for the government as she warned that police were picking up the pieces due to a “scandalous lack of mental-health provision.”

Police forces in England and Wales are becoming increasingly involved in dealing with mental-health issues, with 28,271 detentions under the Mental Health Act in 2015-16 compared to 17,417 in 2005-06, a 62 per cent rise. And they warn that cuts to NHS mental-health service provision is increasing pressure on the police.

Mental-health co-ordinator for the College of Policing Inspector Michael Brown said: “Most people in contact with police about mental-health issues don’t need the police, they need a mental-health professional.

“The inability to access a mental-health professional is the problem, and that generates a lot of work for the police.”

Ms Haigh said: “The dismantling of vital early intervention services forces those with mental-health issues onto lengthy waiting lists.

“In desperation or in crisis, they will turn to the police, who are acting as the service of last resort, a role they are wholly unequipped for.

“While facing a savage cut in numbers, the police are increasingly being asked to pick up the pieces of a scandalous lack of mental-health provision. Incidents involving mental health are at record highs as police resilience reaches rock bottom.

“The result is genuinely frightening and these figures should act as a wake-up call for the government.”

A Department of Health spokesman recited: “Everyone should be able to access the mental-health support they need. We have made major improvements in recent years, including setting up the firstever access and waiting standards for mental health and increasing mental-health spending year-on-year to a record £11.6 billion in 2016/17.”




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