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Pledge To Improve Mental Healthcare In Dorset

PCC Martyn Underhill

12:11am 28th December 2014

A pledge has been made to improve care for people in mental health crisis in Dorset.

Health care organisations, local councils and Dorset Police have signed up to a national concordat.

They'll now need to create an action plan on how they can work together to make sure people in crisis get urgent and compassionate treatment.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner and Chair of the PCC Mental Health Working Group Martyn Underhill said: "I am really excited that Dorset agencies have signed up to the Mental Health Concordat. Today marks an important step forwards in our work to improve mental health services in Dorset. It is a building block for the future where locally, professionals will aspire to further improve mental health provision in this county. It is crucial that agencies work together on improving outcomes for people experiencing mental health crisis. The very fact that we needed a Concordat displays the crux of the problem, nationally and here in Dorset. This ground breaking document also strengthens the desire to place people in crisis in appropriate healthcare settings. Here in Dorset, we are leading work to develop action plans to deliver the Mental Health Concordat's principles. Our pilot street triage scheme is already improving mental health care for those in crisis, which has been recognised by the Home Secretary. We need to make sure that the vulnerable receive the right care, at the right time and in the right place. They need to be looked after by a health care professional, not by a police officer and not in a police cell. Today's pledge to work together to improve mental health services, demonstrates a commitment from all agencies to tackle this national issue. This is a huge step in the right direction."

"I know from my patients how important it is to appropriately meet the needs of those with mental health problems who are in distress and come into contact with the emergency services" says Dr Paul French from NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group. He adds, "one patient who lives with a serious mental illness specifically asked me to make sure that mental health staff and police work together so that her needs could be better understood than it has been in the past. I am pleased to able to tell her that this is now happening thanks to this partnership."

Eugine Yafele, Mental Health Lead for Dorset HealthCare added: "Signing this Concordat underlines our commitment to working with our partners to ensure that everyone receives the urgent support they need, when and where they need it. We have already launched a mental health street triage service with Dorset Police and hope to build on that example of good practice that has been recognised nationally."

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