People with mental health problems kept in police cells

People suffering from mental health problems in Scotland’s
remote rural areas are often kept in police cells because of a lack
of alternative emergency accommodation in the health services,
according to a report funded by the NHS, writes Maggie

Report author Dr Malcolm Kerr said: “The use of police
cells is unacceptable; it is neither therapeutic nor safe. The
police are very good, but they feel they should not be looking
after people in need of health care.”

The report recommends a rural mental health network to share
good practice and encourage collaboration in an attempt to overcome
the patchy response to mental health emergencies currently in

Richard Norris, Director of Policy for the Scottish Association
of Mental Health, said: “We are pleased that the report
reinforces the importance of developing crisis services in rural
areas, and welcome the recognition that police cells are not
appropriate for use as ‘places of safety’. ”

‘Handling and transfer of mentally disturbed patients’ from the
Remote And Rural Areas Resource Initiative (RARARI)

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