Assessment suite opens at the Friarage

From left, Insp Bill Scott, Claire Scotter, PCC Julia Mulligan and Dr Vicky Pleydell. (S)
From left, Insp Bill Scott, Claire Scotter, PCC Julia Mulligan and Dr Vicky Pleydell. (S)

A new assessment suite which provides a place of safety for vulnerable adults detained under the Mental Health Act has opened at the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton.

Part of a £1m extra investment made in mental health in the area over the past year, the ‘Place of Safety’ – run by Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Foundation Trust – has been made possible through a partnership with NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (which is funding the service), North Yorkshire Police and North Yorkshire County Council.

It will help people to recover from episodes of ill health, provide timely access to treatment and more rapid access to specialist care, and improved service user and carer experience in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.

A ‘Place of Safety’ is somewhere a person can be detained for up to 72 hours if they are in mental health crisis and the police believe them to be in immediate need of care for the sake of their own, or another person’s safety. Until now the police had no option but to take these people to a custody suite, even though they may not have committed an offence.

North Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan said: “All too often very vulnerable people in mental health crisis can end up in the hands of the police rather than the care of health professionals. This new service in Northallerton is very welcome news, and will undoubtedly help provide proper support at the very moment when it is most needed. We now have three ‘Places of Safety’ across North Yorkshire.”