Cash grant secures upgraded facilities for mental health patients who are detained by law during crisis

Better facilities will be provided by the region's mental health trust for patients in a crisis who

Better facilities will be provided by the region's mental health trust for patients in a crisis who are detained. Picture posed by models. Picture: Newscast Online - Credit: Newscast Online

Nearly £400,000 will be used to improve support for people who have a mental health crisis in Norfolk.

The money will pay for renovating and expanding 'places of safety' in Norwich, King's Lynn and Great Yarmouth.

These are rooms on NHS premises where people suffering a mental health crisis can be taken by police officers and looked after by health professionals.

It means people in crisis can be cared for in an appropriate setting while they await help.

Previously mental health patients in a crisis have been kept in police cells because of a lack of available facilities, but this practice has been dramatically reduced in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The money (£394,700) is a one-off grant from a panel representing the Department of Health, Home Office, and NHS England.

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It was awarded following a joint bid from Norfolk partners in the NHS, charity sector and social housing.

As a result three of the rooms, known as Section 136 suites, which are run by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT), will be upgraded. One room at Hellesdon Hospital near Norwich will be rebuilt and expanded at a cost of around £220,000.

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The other two rooms, one at the Fermoy Unit in King's Lynn and one at Northgate Hospital in Great Yarmouth, will be refurbished and new furniture will be provided.

The grant includes £150,000 which may be used to create a community mental health 'hub' in Norwich.

Clive Rennie, of the Norfolk integrated mental health commissioning team, said: 'Modernising Section 136 suites will provide improved facilities for both patients and staff; this will assist greatly in patient care in crisis situations.'

Debbie White, director of operations in Norfolk for NSFT, said: 'This project will play a major role in helping to improve the experience which patients have when using these suites, while also providing greater privacy and dignity – and reducing the stigma associated with a detention under the Mental Health Act.'

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