A NEW agreement to improve the system of care and support for people in a mental health crisis has been signed by the Welsh Government, police forces, the NHS, councils and other agencies. The crisis care concordat commits the organisations which have signed up to work together to intervene early and, if possible, to reduce the likelihood of people posing a risk to themselves or others as a result of a mental health condition. A key part of this approach are new proposals to reduce the use of police custody for people suffering with mental health problems. People with suspected mental health issues who are detained under the Mental Health Act should be assessed within three hours and not be held in police custody for more than 12 hours.
All organisations which sign the concordat have made a commitment to find the most appropriate support needed for people in whatever situation and whichever service a person turns to, making sure that any intervention is carried out without any unnecessary or inappropriate placement; for example within police custody. Other commitments include: People under 18 who experience a mental health crisis should never be held in police custody unless in exceptional circumstances; Police vehicles will rarely be used to convey people in crisis, except the most violent of individuals and only in exceptional cases to transport people between NHS facilities; NHS transport or other health vehicles, but not necessarily an ambulance, should be commissioned to take people in a mental health crisis to hospital; If a young person under 18 is detained under section 135 or 136 of the Mental Health Act and taken to a police station for assessment, a case review will be held within seven days to determine whether this could have been avoided in order to learn from that incident; Monitoring groups within health boards will review every section 135 and 136 detention within police custody to determine its appropriateness.
Health and Social Services Minister, Mark Drakeford said: “This new agreement is about providing the most appropriate care and support to those facing a mental health crisis, whatever the time, every day of the year. “It is about all those who have signed up working closely together so we avoid people being wrongly kept in a police cell and instead being given access to the right treatment for them. I am delighted this deal has brought together so many organisations that have a vital role to play.” Jon Stratford, assistant chief constable, South Wales Police said: “Too many people end up in police cells when detained for their own or others’ safety under the Mental Health Act instead of receiving appropriate support and help. We welcome the development of the crisis care concordat. “The signing of today’s agreement is an important step in improving how all agencies work together to protect vulnerable people.” Sara Moseley, director of Mind Cymru and chair of the Wales Alliance on Mental Health, said: “When you are in crisis you are at your most vulnerable. You may be experiencing delusions or hallucinations, you might be suicidal or self-harming, it can be very frightening – you need the right help urgently.
“A police cell is a completely inappropriate environment in which to receive that care and support. Mind has been campaigning for action on reducing the use of police cells for people in crisis for many years. Bringing together so many agencies including the police, the NHS and the third sector is a great achievement and shows how determined we are to create change. “This is a crucial first step. There’s a lot more to do to make sure that anyone experiencing a mental health crisis gets the right care. We need to make sure that mental health services can cope with demand and get people the help they need early on to prevent them reaching crisis point in the first place. Great crisis care exists but we need to make sure it exists for anyone in Wales who needs it.” Dyfed-Powys Police and Crime Commissioner Christopher Salmon said: “I welcome this Concordat. “I raised this issue with Welsh Government two years ago and I’m glad that Dyfed-Powys Police and Hywel Dda University Health Board have led the way.”
Explaining how Dyfed Powys Police had taken steps to anticipate the Concordat, Mr Salmon continued: “I’m delighted that – a year after we launched our Street Triage scheme to help those in mental distress during police incidents – the Concordat will recognise the importance of treating mental illness as a health issue, not a police one. “The work of all those involved in delivering our local service is to be applauded; a huge amount of effort and expertise has resulted in a great new project.” Mr Salmon concluded: “In the past, many people have been locked in police cells when what they’ve really needed is health treatment. Across the Hywel Dda area – Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire – they now get that treatment. “The Concordat has been a long time coming but will put clear responsibility on health services to treat mental health cases. The police will be there to help, not the other way round. It’s a great example of work between the police and the health board.”
Education Minister announces ‘back to school’ plans for September
DECISION backed with £29 million to recruit, recover and raise standards
The Education Minister, Kirsty Williams, has today confirmed that all pupils will be able to return to school in September.
“plan to open in September with 100% of pupils physically present on school sites, subject to a continuing, steady decline in the presence of COVID-19 in the community.”
The Minister announced that:
- Schools will return to full capacity, with only limited social distancing within contact groups.
- At full operations, a contact group should consist of around 30 children. Some direct or indirect mixing between children in different contact groups will also be unavoidable, such as on transport, receiving specialist teaching or due to staffing constraints.
- Social distancing for adults should remain in line with regulations and guidance.
- Schools will be required to minimise the risk of transmission by taking other mitigating measures using the hierarchy of risk controls.
- Every school should continue to be “Covid Protected” – having carried out risk assessments and mitigated them with a combination of controls such as hand and surface hygiene, one-way systems and so forth.
- If early warning information shows a local incident or outbreak then nearby schools should implement appropriate restriction measures.
- Each school will be provided with a supply of home testing kits.
The Minister confirmed that the autumn term will start on 1 st September and schools that can accommodate all pupils from the start of the term should do so.
The Minister outlined plans just hours after confirming the Welsh Government would make £29m available to ‘recruit, recover and raise standards’ in Welsh schools in response to the impact still felt from the pandemic.
Commenting on the additional funding announced, the Minister added: “We will recruit, recover and continue to raise standards.”
It is thought that there will be around 800 newly qualified teachers in September and around 800 supply staff currently working within Wales.
“With this funding, we will recruit the equivalent of 600 extra teachers and 300 teaching assistants throughout the next school year.
“We will target extra support at Years 11, 12 and 13, as well as disadvantaged and vulnerable learners of all ages.
“The support package, provided at a school level, could include extra coaching support, personalised learning programmes and additional time and resources for exam year pupils.
“We must never lower our expectations for any of our young people, no matter their background.
“Together, we will continue to raise standards for all, reduce the attainment gap and ensure we have a system that is a source of pride and public confidence.”
Councillor Ian Roberts, WLGA Spokesperson for Education, said: “Since schools closed at the start of the crisis, many children and young people have felt anxious about loss of learning and not being able to see their friends.
The Minister’s plan today will enable schools to safely reopen classrooms from September. Local authorities will work closely with their schools to make sure that necessary arrangements are in place to abide by Welsh Government guidance.
“Our schools have been hit by severe disruption during this pandemic, and we welcome the £29m pledged by the Minister for targeted support to minimise the effects of the past few months on pupils. We will continue to work together in partnership the safest and best possible learning experiences for our children and young people, especially in such challenging circumstances.”
Police urge visitors to stay safe and respect Wales as travel ban is lifted
POLICE are urging visitors to say safe and respect Wales as they get set to welcome visitors this weekend.
Dyfed-Powys Police has issued a message to people preparing to travel to mid and west Wales after the requirement to stay local was lifted on Monday (Jul 6), asking them to be safe, sensible and respectful.
With people now able to travel around Wales and to cross the border into the country, coupled with a fine weather forecast, police are expecting visitors to arrive in droves to enjoy the Dyfed-Powys area.
Temporary Chief Inspector Andy Reed said: “We are very lucky to police beautiful areas across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys, which attract thousands of visitors every week over the summer months.
“With restrictions having been in place since March, we understand that people are now keen to venture further afield and enjoy the beaches, mountains and countryside they’ve missed, and are anticipating a busy weekend ahead.
“Our officers look forward to welcoming you, and will be here if you need any help, but we ask that you help us by being respectful of the areas you visit, and by planning your journey before you set off.”
For anyone travelling to areas they are not familiar with, police are recommending that they plan their route in advance, check traffic updates regularly online and by listening to local radio stations, and be prepared to turn around or reroute if necessary.
T/CI Reed said: “Many of the areas that are popular with tourists aren’t served by main roads, but by B roads that can become backlogged very quickly.
“Nobody wants to spend hours stuck in traffic when they could be enjoying a day out, and there are ways to avoid this.
“If you’re heading to the beach in Pembrokeshire, for example, don’t set your sights on one place. Make a list of beaches you could visit, and be prepared to change your plans if you hit traffic off the main road.
“If you’re planning a hike in the Brecon Beacons, take a look at a few different walking routes – there are plenty of options besides Pen y Fan, which frequently gets overrun on sunny weekends and can cause problems on the roads with high volumes of traffic and parked cars.”
Over the past three months, Dyfed-Powys Police has implemented Operation Dovecote – an engagement, encouragement, education and enforcement approach to ensuring people adhered to the restrictions. With the ease in regulations, officers across the force will take a different approach this weekend – engaging with visitors, clamping down on antisocial behaviour and working with partner agencies to ensure places are left as they were found.
T/CI said: “Our officers will be out and about across the force, making sure everyone is staying safe and respectful. With that in mind, we ask that you be mindful of people who live in the areas you are visiting by acting responsibly – we will not tolerate antisocial or illegal behaviour that will impact on them or other tourists.
“Please park considerately, leave gates and property as you find them, be careful with barbecues and don’t light fires, keep dogs under control, and check what facilities will be open before you start your journey.
“We will be working closely with partners to protect beaches, countryside and waterways – you can help us by making sure you take all your rubbish and belongings with you, and leaving no trace of your visit.”
If you need to report an incident while visiting the Dyfed-Powys area, you can use one of the following options: Online: bit.ly/DPPReportOnline, Email: email@example.com or Call 101.
If you are Deaf, hard of hearing, or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908.
Always call 999 in an emergency
Ceredigion hometown heroes & lockdown legends sought for 2020 National Lottery Awards
THE National Lottery is searching for your ‘hometown hero’ or ‘lockdown legend’ as part of the 2020 National Lottery Awards.
This year the annual search for the UK’s most popular National Lottery funded projects will, for the first time, honour individuals who have made an extraordinary impact in their community, especially those who have adapted during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
New figures reveal more than £2.8 million of National Lottery funding has been invested in good causes in Ceredigion in 2018/19 alone.
A total of 108 National Lottery grants were awarded in the region during the previous financial year, providing vital support to arts, sports, heritage and community projects.
From today, The National Lottery are calling for nominations of people who have done amazing things with the help of National Lottery funding and are an inspiration to us all.
Winners in each category will receive a £3,000 cash prize for their organisation and a coveted National Lottery Awards trophy.
Jonathan Tuchner from The National Lottery is encouraging the people of Ceredigion to make their nominations.
He said: “The National Lottery continues to have a positive impact on life across the UK. Thanks to National Lottery players thousands of projects are making an incredible difference to their local communities.
Now, more than ever, people have rallied together, and individuals are performing inspirational acts and extraordinary endeavours to help in cities, towns and villages up and down the country.
Thanks to National Lottery players, up to £600 million has been made available to support communities throughout the UK amid the coronavirus crisis. People have used National Lottery funding in amazing ways during these challenging times. We want to honour them as part of this year’s National Lottery Awards and recognise their selfless dedication and thank them for their fantastic work.”
Encompassing all aspects of National Lottery good causes funding, the 2020 National Lottery Awards are seeking to recognise outstanding individuals in the following sectors:
Community / Charity
And there will be a special Young Hero Award for someone under the age of 18 who has gone that extra mile in their organisation. All nominees must work or act for a National Lottery funded organisation or have received National Lottery funding.
To make your nomination for this year’s National Lottery Awards, tweet @LottoGoodCauses with your suggestions or complete an entry form through our website www.lotterygoodcauses.org.uk/awards . Entries must be received by midnight on 19th August 2020.
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