Closed petition Guaranteed help at A&E to prevent avoidable deaths from suicide

When you feel suicidal in the UK, doctors tell you to go to A&E. What you will find there is based on luck: will you find compassion? Or will you be judged and turned away? A majority of the time, the latter. Asking for help can be a turning point for individuals in crisis.

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There should be a nation-wide, guaranteed response to individuals seeking help for suicidal thoughts and feelings in our hospitals.

The following procedure should be guaranteed as a standard response:

1. The contemplation of suicide or signs of severe mental distress is classified as a medical emergency.
2. The individual is processed on-site immediately.
3. The individual is taken to a “Calm Room”.
4. ‘Suicide Guarantee’ trained staff member speaks with the individual with attentive compassion.
5. A specialist professional involves the individual in creating a written plan to assure their immediate safety and ongoing treatment and/or support.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 16 May 2019

We are rolling-out liaison mental health teams in every acute hospital by 2020 to ensure that people who present at hospital with mental health needs get the care and treatment they need.

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Mental health and suicide prevention is a top priority for this government, which is why, in October 2018, the Prime Minister announced the first Suicide Prevention Minister in the UK who is working across national and local government and delivery agencies, including the NHS, to ensure we are doing all we can to reduce suicides.

In January 2019, NHS England published the NHS Long-Term Plan, which sets out a comprehensive expansion of mental health services, with an additional £2.3bn in real terms by 2023/24.

We are investing £249 million to roll-out liaison mental health teams in every acute hospital by 2020 to ensure that people who present at hospital with mental health needs get the appropriate care and treatment they need. Under the Long-term Plan, by 2023/24, 70% of these liaison services will meet the ‘core 24’ service standard, working towards 100% coverage thereafter. NHS England continues to work to ensure that every person who presents at an emergency department for self-harm receives a psychosocial assessment and is directed to appropriate support.

The NHS Long-Term Plan also commits to establishing a national 24/7 single point of contact for anyone experiencing mental health crisis through the NHS 111 service, meaning that people in crisis will be able to access a trained mental health professional when they need it.

NHS England has also committed to increasing alternative forms of provision for those in crisis, for example sanctuaries, safe havens and crisis cafes, which can provide a more suitable alternative to A&E for many people. The NHS will work with the voluntary sector and local authorities on these alternatives and ensuring they meet the needs of patients, carers and families.

In March 2019, NHS England published the interim Clinical Review of Access Standards report, which makes recommendations for embedding urgent and emergency mental health in waiting time standards, so that everyone who needs it can expect to receive timely care in the most appropriate setting. This includes a recommendation that, for liaison psychiatry services and children and young people’s equivalent in A&E departments, people should expect access within one hour of referral, with appropriate, timely support to meet their needs and an evidence-based package of care. The report also recommends that people accessing crisis services in the community should expect to receive expert assessment within hours for emergency referrals, and within 24 hours for urgent referrals; appropriate response times will be explored as part of the testing. Specific waiting times targets for emergency mental health services will take effect from 2020 for the first time.

Department of Health and Social Care.