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£12 million funding boost for mental health assessments in custody

Funding will expand liaison and diversion services in England

Mental health services for people taken into custody have been given a £12 million funding boost from the government.

Most of the money will be spent on liaison and diversion services in England over the next two years, with the full roll out complete by 2020.

Treatment and care

Liaison and diversion services identify people who have mental health problems and learning disabilities when they come into contact with the police and courts. The services assess the person's needs, advise on their case management and ensure that those in need receive the treatment and support they require.

Where appropriate, vulnerable people can be diverted away from the criminal justice system and into treatment and care.

Currently 50,000 people a year in England are assessed by liaison and diversion services following arrest, and almost 70% require mental health support.

Welcome boost

This extra government funding will extend NHS England liaison and diversion services from 50% population coverage to 75% by 2018.

RCN mental health professional lead Ian Hulatt welcomed the news, but warned the funding boost needed to be administered carefully.

He said: ‘This delivery plan is very welcome and covers a diverse range of areas. It demonstrates how mental health services touch so many areas and what a massive contribution they can and do make to the nation's health.

‘Of course, the concern will be to ensure this funding actually reaches the services it is designed to improve. This will require vigilance and commitment among those charged with overseeing this process.’

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