latest health care news


Mental health treatment in police stations ‘improving’

Efforts to improve support for people with mental health problems in the criminal justice system have been made, but this will need to be sustained for at least another five years to put the vision into practice nationwide, an independent commission has concluded.

The commission, chaired by Lord Bradley, has released a report, supported by Centre for Mental Health, which has reviewed the progress made since his original report in 2009.

The Bradley Report five years on found that the commitment of successive governments to the development of liaison and diversion services in police stations and courts has enabled solid progress to be made in putting these vital services in place across the country. But successful implementation of liaison and diversion will depend on local services offering effective and engaging support to people of all ages who are diverted.

According to the study, there has been some progress in improving access to hospital care for prisoners requiring specialist treatment. But the proposed 14-day maximum waiting time has not been implemented and reform continues to be vital.

It also calls for greater consistency in the provision of mental health support in prisons, for action to speed up transfers from prison to hospital and for training in mental health and learning disability awareness to be provided to frontline staff in all criminal justice services.

Lord Bradley said: “In reviewing the progress that has been made since I published my first report, I have been impressed by the dedication, creativity and perseverance of the people who are striving to make change both nationally and locally.

“However, if we are to make further progress and fulfil the potential of liaison and diversion, we need to see continued commitment from government for at least the next five years.”

It has been suggested that NHS England should replicate its efforts in achieving standardisation in liaison and diversion services by developing an operating model for prison mental health and learning disability care.

This should include accommodating multiple and complex need, a recovery orientated approach, primary mental healthcare, engagement with service users and co-production of services and the needs of special populations.

Responding to the report, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said: “This report highlights the need for continued investment and support for liaison and diversion services.  Many of those entering the criminal justice system have mental health problems, substance misuse issues or learning disabilities. It is vital that there is help available with assessing their needs and providing suitable care.

He did note, though, that there needs to be extra training in mental health and learning disability awareness provided for all frontline staff in all criminal justice services.

Lord Bradley added that the vision he set out five years ago was always going to take at least a decade to realise. Therefore, it is a great credit to those who have supported the vision that we are still making progress despite the pressure on public sector budgets and the many competing calls on scarce resources, he added.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


national health executive tv

more videos >

featured articles

View all News

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now beyond more > more last word articles >

health service focus

View all News


Turning blue lights green

11/04/2019Turning blue lights green

Polly Billington, director of UK100, a cities network that campaigns on env... more >
Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/04/2019Going back to school at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Steve Hams, director of quality and chief nurse at Gloucestershire Hospital... more >


How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to s... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Our Health Heroes

16/04/2019Our Health Heroes

Dean Royles, strategic workforce advisor at Skills for Health and co-author of ‘An Introduction to Human Resource Management,’ discusses the upcoming Our Health He... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >