A safer place to be: findings from our survey of health-based places of safety for people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act

Care Quality Commission
Publication year:
Place of publication:
Newcastle upon Tyne

Examines the provision and use of health-based places of safety for people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act, which gives police officers the power to detain people, believed to have a mental disorder, in a public place and to take them to a place of safety for assessment. The report, based on the findings from a survey of NHS mental health trusts and social enterprise providers of health-based places of safety in England, focuses on: the availability, in practice, of health-based places of safety; accessibility, including any exclusion criteria; staffing and training of those involved in operating places of safety; target times and delays in carrying out MHA assessments after people have been taken to places of safety; governance, reporting and multi-agency working; and the role of police and ambulance services. The report highlights four key findings that need to be urgently addressed: too many places of safety are turning people away or requiring people to wait for long periods with the police, because they are already full or because there are staffing problems; too many providers operate policies that exclude young people, people who are intoxicated, and people with disturbed behaviour from all of their places of safety; too many commissioners are not adequately fulfilling their responsibilities for maintaining an oversight of the section 136 pathway; and too many providers are not appropriately monitoring their own service provision. As a result and despite guidance from the MHA Code of Practice and elsewhere, the use of police stations across the country is far from uncommon. (Edited publisher abstract)

Subject terms:
mental health problems, compulsory detention, police, crisis resolution, assessment;
Content type:
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