More NHS beds would help the police, say mental health charity

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Haringey Independent: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A mental health charity in Haringey has said that more beds in St Ann’s Hospital are needed to help the police deal with mentally ill in police custody.

Anita Hudson, the director of Haringey Mind, said that the new custody suite in Wood Green was a sign of progress being made, but that the NHS needed to do more to help.

She said: “It must be quite difficult for the police who have to take people into custody. I welcome that they’re doing something, but they’re not mental healthcare professionals.

“They might have healthcare professionals in this new Wood Green centre between 9am and 9pm, but it’s not good enough. What if something happens at night?

“The real problem is the lack of bed space in the NHS. We need more beds available so that these people aren’t in police cells in the first place.

“It’s really not fair on the police that they have to deal with this kind of thing. They’re not mental health professionals.”

She added that mental health was still not given the same priority as physical health when it came to funding, saying that more money was needed.

In November last year a Quality Care Commission report on St Ann’s criticised the hospital for placing patients in specialised “seclusion rooms” because there were no other beds available in the Trust.

A re-inspection of the hospital in April 2014 found that this problem has now been resolved, and that standards of care in the hospital are “safe and appropriate”.

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