The government is investing £150 million over the next three years to help people experiencing a mental health emergency to access more care in the community, such through crisis houses and safe havens.

This includes £7 million for specialised mental health ambulances across the country to reduce the use of general ambulance call outs for those experiencing a mental health crisis and prevent the inappropriate use of police vehicles as a way to take people to hospital.

It is hoped that this will ease pressure on services, improve response times and outcomes for people in crisis which will help save lives, as well as ensuring patients experiencing a crisis are treated with dignity and respect.

The measures are part of the draft Mental Health Bill which aims to tackle racial disparities in mental health services, better meet the needs of people with a learning disability and autistic people and ensure appropriate care for people with serious mental illness within the criminal justice system.

The draft bill is now subject to pre-legislative scrutiny where a parliamentary select committee will examine the draft in detail before the government publishes a final version. These were all recommendations from Professor Sir Simon Wessely’s independent review of the Mental Health Act which will now be implemented to improve patient care.

Increasing local capacity will reduce avoidable hospital admissions

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid said: "This is a significant moment in supporting people with serious mental health issues. We’re investing more money to ensure NHS patients have tailored services and support, so people in a mental health emergency get the right care at the right time.

"Our reforms to the outdated Mental Health Act are another important milestone in better supporting those with serious mental health issues and giving people greater control over their treatment, particularly those from ethnic minority backgrounds who are disproportionately detained under the Act.

"Increasing local capacity will reduce avoidable hospital admissions and inappropriate out of area hospital placements. This will result in improved patient outcomes as people in crisis will be able to receive specialised treatment in appropriate environments, reducing the risk of readmission to hospital."

Reforms will also take steps to ensure parity between mental health and physical health services. The government is already investing over £400 million to eradicate dormitories in mental health facilities as part of its response to Sir Simon’s recommendations so people admitted to hospital can receive care in a modern and genuinely therapeutic environment.

More widely, the government is expanding and transforming mental health services to meet rising demand by investing an additional £2.3 billion a year to expand and transform services in England, which will help 2 million more people to access mental health services by 2023/24.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, added: “The publication of the draft Mental Health Bill is a watershed moment for mental health in the UK. The 1983 Mental Health Act is an outdated piece of law that far too often enables appalling treatment towards people with mental health problems. It has numerous issues, from widespread inappropriate use of detention and force, to some ethnic groups being disproportionately sectioned. When people’s lives come crashing down in a mental health crisis, they need to be able to rely on the law for the help they need, but right now this just isn’t the case. Changing this crucial piece of legislation is the first step to righting many of these wrongs.

“The Bill contains a number of welcome proposals. We’re particularly pleased to see measures which will give people receiving care under the Act more say over how they are treated and allow a nominated person to exercise certain rights on their behalf. Making sure people with mental health problems have more access to advocacy is particularly important.

"Access to statutory care and treatment plans will bring more transparency and accountability to clinical decision-making, and put those peoples’ choices first. The new proposed duty on clinicians to consider the person’s wishes and feelings and to involve them in the decision-making process, before deciding whether to treat them under the Act, should help to focus clinical decision-making on a patient's wishes."