We are delighted to officially open our new Place of Safety at Highgate Mental Health Centre. Designed with the help of service users, this new state-of-the-art facility will significantly improve the experience of people coming into contact with the mental health system through local police.
Instead of the busy, high stimulus environment of an emergency department, service users are now being seen by a dedicated mental health team in a bespoke and calming setting.
As well as reducing the pressure in our local EDs, police and ambulance service colleagues are now able to speak to a dedicated Place of Safety co-ordinator who can liaise with them to find a suitable alternative should the facility be full.
Camden and Islington CCGs have invested revenue funding of £1.37m to fund the operational team and it is expected that 1,000 service users will be seen each year in the new facility.
Since opening at the end of January, there has been positive feedback from both police and patients. We are now part of the London Health Based Place of Safety Network enabling us to connect with colleagues in other places of safety to manage challenges and help us improve the service we provide.
Camden and Islington NHS Trust Chief Executive, Angela McNab, said: I think the one thing that defines a good Place of Safety is ensuring that service users and their carers are seen and treated with dignity during what can be an extremely distressing period in their lives. This is what our vision has been for our new Place of Safety and I know, that is what our staff will pride themselves on delivering, whatever the challenges they face”.
C&I has moved the service we normally offer in emergency departments to our 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service, at St Pancras Hospital. The service will see people in need of urgent care so that they do not have to go to a hospital emergency department unless they have an urgent medical need. Emergency departments are under unprecedented pressure due to COVID-19 – the illness caused by coronavirus. We are urging people in mental health crisis to telephone our 24/7 crisis line on 020 3317 6333 or contact their usual community mental health team. If service users attend the 24-hour Mental Health Crisis Assessment Service in person we will see you but we urge you to contact the crisis line in advance for advice to ensure you are only leaving home when absolutely necessary.