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New service will provide safe and dignified mental health assessments

A Place of Safety for vulnerable adults who are detained by the police under Section 136 (S136) of the Mental Health Act opens today at Bootham Park Hospital.

The facility; a result of collaborative working from NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), North Yorkshire Police, Leeds and York Partnership Foundation Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, City of York Council and North Yorkshire County Council, will provide a 24/7, single point of access for all patients presented under S136.

Professor Alan Maynard, Chair of the CCG said: “In line with our commitment to improve the quality and safety of commissioned services and to support the development of services under S136, the CCG is delighted to see this essential service opening today.

“The CCG provided £400k towards the creation of this much needed Place of Safety.

“We had hoped that the facility; which will ensure the privacy and respect of service users and carers, would be open sooner, but there have been delays due to planning and building set-backs that often come with the refurbishment of a listed building.

“Looking forward, the CCG is delighted to play a part in the creation of what will be the efficient and dignified assessment of patients who are detained under Section 135 or 136 of the Mental Health Act.”

Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire, said:
“I welcome the opening of this facility in York, which will finally give the professional support these patients need.  Victims need to be at the centre of everything we do, which is why this place of safety was desperately needed in York.  For too long the police have been relied upon to look after detainees in custody suites, which was entirely inappropriate, as well as being resource intensive.

“I thank the CCG for finally making this happen but we will have to wait and see whether there is enough capacity to support the needs of the community in York.  With only one bed available, I need to be convinced that capacity at the facility is sufficient.  With approximately 30 detainees per month across North Yorkshire, sometimes being admitted in clusters, I will be closely monitoring the situation.”

Jill Copeland, Chief Operating Officer at Leeds and York Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A modern Place of Safety is essential to providing safe and dignified care for people with mental health problems who are detained by the police.  We are delighted to be offering this service at Bootham Park Hospital.”

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