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Mind responds to ambulance service concerns over Right Care Right Person

Wednesday, 21 February 2024 Mind

The Association of Ambulance Chief Executives (AACE) has today warned that patients and paramedics are both coming to harm, following the roll out of a new scheme to reduce police involvement in mental health calls.

The Right Care Right Person initiative, first piloted in Humberside, sees police forces reducing, or in some instances altogether stopping, responding to mental health related calls.

In figures analysed by the AACE, London Ambulance Services are now receiving up to 250 calls daily which have been transferred from the police; with ACCE reporting that in some cases, police have not attended incidents that have resulted in harm coming to the patient and/or clinician.

Gemma Byrne, Policy & Campaigns Manager at Mind, said:

“These reports from frontline ambulance staff are extremely troubling. When someone is experiencing a mental health crisis they need timely and effective care as soon as possible. We know the police are not always the most appropriate people to support someone in these situations, but keeping people safe is part of core police business and this can’t change: an emergency is an emergency. 

We are extremely worried about the pace at which Right Care Right Person is being rolled out across the country and how the changes will play out in practice. We know that many agencies have faced decades of underfunding and are struggling to keep pace with the surge in demand for mental health support. But at the centre of this are people in a deeply distressing mental health crisis, and we cannot risk people falling through the gaps between agencies.

The UK government needs to slow down the roll-out of Right Care Right Person, and allow the time and funding necessary to ensure agencies can work together to put the needs of people with mental health problems first.

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