People held under Mental Health Act to get alternative ‘place of safety’


A facility for people in Calderdale, Kirklees or Wakefield who may be experiencing mental distress is being opened by South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust on 1st July 2008. The new ‘Trinity suite’ will help to decriminalise those held under Section136 of the Mental Health Act (1983) as a police station will no longer be the only designated place of safety for Section 136 assessments.

The Trinity Suite, based at Fieldhead, Ouchthorpe Lane, Wakefield has been developed in partnership by local organisations including the Trust, West Yorkshire Police, the Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield PCTs and local authorities. The facility enables the assessment of a person that the police believe to be suffering from a serious mental health problem and in need of immediate assessment. Until now the only Section 136 place of safety in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield where assessment could be carried out was a police cell. The Trinity Suite will now provide an alternative.

Section 136 can only be used by a police officer to remove a person who appears to be suffering from serious mental health problems from a public place. A Section 136 place of safety exists to enable the person to be assessed through examination by a doctor and interview by an approved social worker.

A person can be held in a place of safety for a maximum of 72 hours for assessment and then any arrangements can be made for their treatment or care, if required. The facility will be available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and will serve anyone from the Calderdale, Kirklees or Wakefield areas. A second 136 suite will be opened at The Dales unit, Calderdale Royal Hospital in Halifax later this year.

Hazel O’Hara, Chief Operating Officer at South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust said, "The opening of this new facility marks a very positive step for mental health provision in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield. By working closely with our partners, we will be able to provide the best possible service for people who are being held under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. The new facility has been purpose redeveloped on the Fieldhead site in Wakefield and provides a safe and secure environment for assessment."

On behalf of the partnership board who commissioned the new facility, Vicky Dutchburn, Assistant Director of Commissioning and Strategic Development at Kirklees PCT said, "We are pleased to be working with our partners to provide a suitable and safe facility for local people. The new unit will allow individuals to be properly assessed in an appropriate environment by a medical professional, making sure they receive a high quality service."

Assistant Chief Constable Jawaid Akhtar of West Yorkshire Police said, "It is fair to say that a police cell is not the most suitable place for a person who may have serious mental health issues. The facilities being made available at Fieldhead have been much needed and I am delighted that our front line officers will be able to take people there who have serious mental health issues. I welcome the opening of this new facility which we have developed together with our partners in the health service.”

Notes for Editors: • South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust provides specialist mental health and learning disability services to the people of Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield.

• The PCTs in Calderdale, Kirklees and Wakefield are responsible for delivering local healthcare. They commission (plan and pay for) services to meet the needs of the local population.

• Organisations who have worked together to develop the Trinity Suite are: South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust, West Yorkshire Police, Calderdale PCT, Kirklees PCT, Wakefield District PCT, Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, Calderdale Council, Kirklees Council and The City of Wakefield Metropolitan District Council.

People held under Mental Health Act to get alternative ‘place of safety’

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