We respond to agreement between NHS and police over mental health call-outs
26 July 2023
Police forces, the health service and the government have set out plans to reduce the amount of time police spend attending mental health call-outs, under a new framework called the National Partnership Agreement.
Mark Winstanley, Chief Executive of Rethink Mental Illness, said:
“The National Partnership Agreement (NPA) is right in principle. People experiencing a mental health crisis should be met and supported by trained mental health professionals, not the police. It is also right that the Agreement is implemented over time. We must not have a situation where the police are stepping back unilaterally without any health and care provision to take its place. Over the coming months, the police need to work in partnership with the NHS, social care and the voluntary sector, alongside people with lived experience, to make sure potentially vulnerable people are not left in limbo, without support. We have to recognise that there are no simple, quick or low-cost solutions on the table to absorb the one million hours of police time set to be ‘freed up’ through the NPA. While the Agreement sets us in the right direction, it remains unclear how its ambitions will be fulfilled and whether the funding, workforce and resource will be in place to enable a whole sector response that can safely meet rising levels of need. It is absolutely critical that there is no ambiguity around the fact that the police still have crucial responsibility when it comes to supporting people in mental health crisis where there is risk of harm or a threat to life.”