The Government’s Crisis Care Programme is being hailed a success as the number of police cells being used as “places of safety” for people with mental health conditions has dropped by 55%.

The Crisis Care programme is spearheaded by the Crisis Care Concordat – a programme which aims to improve mental health crisis care throughout the UK. The concordat has been successful in implementing a number of changes which have seen numerous benefits for many people who find themselves in a mental health crisis.

As well as the success in using less police cells, the concordat’s Street Triage Scheme has also been a huge success. The scheme involves mental health nurses and police officers working together to deliver crisis care to people suffering with mental health problems on Britain’s streets. The scheme has brought crisis care to almost 10,000 people since it began. The scheme’s success has resulted in it being rolled out across other towns and cities in the UK.

There has also been a significant shift in the way ambulance services deem and respond to mental health crises. A total of 10 ambulance trusts have signed up to try to respond to mental health incidents where the police are first on scene within 30 minutes.

The Crisis Care programme is being supported by local councils, health and police services and will help to make improvements in ensuring places of safety are available to those that need it 24/7. Other focus areas include:

  • Ensuring police custody is not used when mental health services are not available
  • Setting up a 24 hour helpline for people with mental health problems to call and speak to a member of the crisis resolution team, 24/7.
  • Investing £30 million in the next year into ensuring the one million people who currently attend A&E every year with mental ill health receive better care.
  • Investing money in Liaison Psychiatry Services, which ensures mental health care is provided alongside physical treatment – for every £1 invested on liaison psychiatry services the NHS could save up to £3.


“Having a mental illness is not a crime. Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis should be treated with the same urgency and compassion as someone with a broken leg, rather than ending up in a police cell.

Too often this has not been the case but every part of the country is working hard to change that. I’m proud of these results and I’m determined to build on this further so that everyone in crisis gets the care they need in the right place at the right time.”

Minister for Community and Social Care, Alistair Burt

The UK Government is expected to invest a further £15 million into improving mental health crisis care even further. The Care Quality Commission is also expected to announce improvements off the back of local health service inspections that are currently taking place.

To find out more about the Crisis Care Concordat, along with the work they are doing in your area, visit their website.