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Lincolnshire mental health crisis support boosted by national funding

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Two new projects supporting people in crisis have been boosted with over £700k from the Department of Health and Social Care’s Beyond Places of Safety fund.

The Lincolnshire Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, which brings together a wide range of health and care organisations, has been awarded the monies to create three new facilities in the county to ensure people get the help they need in a mental health crisis.

Projects include a new urgent mental health care hub at the Peter Hodgkinson Centre in Lincoln supported by Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT) and places of safety in accident and emergency departments at Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital, managed by United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust (ULHT).

The new urgent mental health care hub will provide a space for patients and carers to access advice and support from a range of organisations such as housing and homelessness support, relationship advice, debt management, drug and alcohol services, working closely with LPFT mental health services.

Ian Jerams, Director of Operations at Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are really pleased to have been awarded this funding as part of the partnership. Often when someone is in crisis it is because of a range of factors, not necessarily connected to their mental health wellbeing. By providing this one-stop-shop we hope to bring together a range of organisations, alongside our own mental health services, that can take a holistic approach and potentially reduce the person’s crisis symptoms and prevent hospital admission.”

Rachel Redgrave, STP Mental Health Improvement and Transformation Manager at South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, and Chair of the Lincolnshire Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat said:

"A number of agencies including Lincolnshire County Council, Lincolnshire Police and many voluntary sector agencies have contributed to achieving this exciting opportunity for Lincolnshire. The hub will take joint working to a new level, by co-locating health and social care, police and ambulance services as well as voluntary and charitable organisations. We will be able to offer our most vulnerable co-ordinated access to a greater range of services."

Lincoln County Hospital and Pilgrim Hospital will also be developing additional places of safety in the county for people that may need to be held by the police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

These two new facilities will provide an additional resource to the suite already available at Peter Hodgkinson Centre on the Lincoln County Hospital site.

They will offer a suitable alternative to a police cell for anyone that needs to be detained because of concerns for their mental wellbeing, and enable treatment and further assessment by mental health professionals.

Jennie Negus, Deputy Chief Nurse at United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust said:

“As part of the new Policing & Crime Act it is recommended that local A&E departments provide a safe place that can be used to care for patients where the police have a concern for their mental wellbeing; complementing the facilities already available in local mental health services.

“We’ve worked closely with the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat and in particular our police and mental health colleagues, to design a space that can keep patients and our staff safe and are really pleased to have been awarded the funding to make this happen.”

The Beyond Places of Safety scheme nationally has funded clinics, crisis cafes and other community services designed to prevent people from reaching crisis point, as well as develop new approaches to support those who do.

In total 51 projects received funding to improve timely support. They will help relieve pressure on hospitals by reducing unnecessary visits to A&E for those experiencing a crisis. The projects also include measures to strengthen the long-term support available to those at risk of a mental health crisis and to help prevent relapse.

Work will now start on further developing these proposals and agreeing timescales for when all of the new services will become available. It is hoped that the new places of safety in A&E will become operational in late autumn this year.