Long-awaited ‘place of safety’ for people in mental health crisis gets approved

News Desk (12 October, 2016)

The site was built after it emerged that worrying numbers of mental health patients were being sectioned in police cells

7974Maudsley Hospital, part of South London and Maudlsey NHS Trust

The long-awaited ‘Central Place of Safety’ for mental-health-crisis sufferers at Maudsley Hospital has been approved to open this autumn.

The new 24/7 centre was built to provide emergency mental health care for up to six people, and covers Southwark, Lewisham, Lambeth and Croydon.

It was built after the Met Police made the shocking report that 40 mental health patients were sectioned under the Mental Health Act in the first half of 2015. This meant that sufferers were being put in police cars or cells due to local NHS treatment centres in the four boroughs often being at full capacity or under-staffed.

Cath Gormally, director of social care at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are looking forward to opening the new Place of Safety later in the autumn. The aim of the new suite is to improve patients’ experience by providing a modern environment that is fit for purpose and welcoming for all ages including children and young people.

“The new facility will be available 24/7 and will have a dedicated team of doctors and nurses with specific expertise to assess and meet the needs of people brought to the Place of Safety.”

The new facility was also given the green light last week by a joint scrutiny committee of coun-illors from the four boroughs.

Although the site had been ready to open since the spring, the Trust’s directors were “called-in” and told to consult with local authorities, after they decided to build the centre without telling local councils or charities.

Ms Gormally added: “We are pleased that the joint health scrutiny committee has approved our plans for a centralised Place of Safety at Denmark Hill.

“The committee recognised the work that we have done to listen to patients and the public and take on board their feedback in the development of the new Place of Safety Suite.”

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