Camden and Islington NHS Trust is to build a new, purpose-built facility to enable people in a mental health crisis to get timely care and assessment in a dignified and confidential environment.
Currently the emergency departments of the Royal Free, UCLH or the Whittington Hospital are used as Camden and Islington’s health-based places of safety. However the busy, noisy environments of emergency departments are not best suited to supporting people detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
Evidence from other areas of London has shown that the rate of inpatient admissions is reduced by having access to the calm and quiet environment of a dedicated place of safety, located outside of Emergency Departments.
Both Camden and Islington CCGs have prioritised the development of a HBPoS in their planning in order to meet local needs.
C&I Acute Divisional Director, Adele McKay, said: “We are really positive about the prospect of being able to offer this vastly improved environment to some of our most vulnerable service users. It will enable them to be rapidly assessed in a dignified, reassuring environment so that arrangements for the best care and treatment can be made”.
The new Health-Based Place of Safety at Highgate will be purpose-built at ground floor level. There will be three rooms, a lounge area with administration offices and additional facilities. There will also be additional parking spaces for emergency services transporting patients to the site.
Construction will start in early April and the aim is to keep disruption to a minimum, with building work scheduled from 8am to 6pm, with some ad-hoc work at weekends. There will be limited parking spaces available for patients and their families during the construction period, and less parking overall once construction is complete due to the space needed for emergency services. Staff and visitors are being asked to consider other means of transport to the Highgate site wherever possible.