Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, North East Hertfordshire MP Oliver Heald, a longstanding campaigner on mental health issues, raised his concerns that Mental Health patients are being forced into Accident and Emergency Departments, rather than the specialist facilities they need and asked the Prime Minister about extra funding for 150 Urgent Mental Health facilities. The Prime Minister agreed with Oliver’s analysis and pointed to extra funding for the new units, costing £150m.
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The Prime Minister will be aware of my concern that mental health patients should not be forced into accident and emergency departments when what they really need is specialist care. Will he say more about the extra money that is being made available for urgent mental health care facilities and what impact he thinks that will have on the treatment of mental health patients and the general situation in A&E departments?
My right hon. and learned Friend is absolutely right. People in mental health crisis deserve compassionate care in a safe and appropriate setting. Too often, they end up in A&E when they should be receiving specialist treatment elsewhere. This week’s announcement on mental health ambulances, crisis cafés, crisis houses and mental health urgent treatment centres will ensure that patients get the vital help that they need while easing pressures on emergency departments and freeing up staff time. He is absolutely right to highlight the issue. Our announcement will make a major difference.
Commenting Oliver said:
“Treating mental health patients in A&E is not the best way of treating such cases, which need specialists and it is also putting pressure on A&E departments. I am glad that the Prime Minister agreed that we need new Urgent Mental Health facilities and that the Government is to fund 150.”