Health-based places of safety to come together to improve mental health crisis care

6 September 2023

NHS Kent and Medway’s Integrated Care Board has given the go ahead to proposals to bring local health-based places of safety (HBPoS) together on one site in Maidstone.

Health Based Places of Safety (HBPoS) are the places that Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust provides for adults needing emergency care and assessment under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act.

Currently the five HBPoS are split across three sites in Maidstone, Dartford and Canterbury.

Welcoming the decision, Helen Greatorex, Chief Executive of Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust, said: “We care for, and support, thousands of people across Kent and Medway with their mental health every year and, for some, that involves helping those in a mental health crisis who need urgent care. Bringing together local health-based places of safety into one, dedicated, high quality environment is just one of the many ways we are transforming urgent and mental health care across the county and this much needed funding will enable us to make sure people continue to receive the right care in the right place and at the right time.”


Kent and Medway is in the middle of unprecedented levels of funding and investment to transform mental health services and support.

The changes to the HBPoS are part of a wider transformation of mental health urgent and emergency care in Kent and Medway, which includes:

  • Implementation of NHS 111, select 2 for the mental health crisis line
  • Increased investment for an enhanced home treatment team
  • Introduction of crisis houses
  • 24/7 crisis line run by the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector
  • Safe havens in key locations across Kent and Medway where people can get support, advice and help out-of-hours, 365 days a year
  • Expansion of the 836 clinical advice line for Kent Police
  • Rapid response service for urgent clinical mental health assessment within one hour.

NHS Kent and Medway’s Chief Deliver Officer, Lee Martin, said: “This is about making sure we have the right care in place in Kent and Medway to support people when they need it.

“It will transform current services; improving the experience for patients, providing a modern, fit-for-purpose, therapeutic environment and enabling sustainable staffing.”

Next steps

Next steps for the HBPoS are the appointment of a full design team to work with KMPT and experts-through-experience to produce a design and selection process to appoint a main contractor.

It is anticipated that construction will begin in Autumn 2024 and the unit will be in place from Spring 2025.

Public consultation

The decision follows a public consultation earlier this year, which asked for people’s views on the proposals to centralise the HBPoS, and for feedback on care for people experiencing a mental health crisis.

When asked whether the proposal would improve the patient experience, just over half of respondents agreed that the proposal would improve the patient experience, with just under one-third disagreeing.

When asked about staff experience, two-thirds agreed that the proposal would improve the staff experience, with just under one-quarter disagreeing.

Concerns about the proposal included:

  • Impacts on increased travel times for some people needing assessment and therefore for police and ambulance services.
  • Isolation of users from services and support networks (such as family and friends) for people who will need to travel further.
  • Risks of a single point of failure.

Suggestions put forward in feedback included:

  • improving staff training and staffing numbers
  • having more than one site
  • the design and layout of the facility.

To view the full consultation report visit the Improving Section 136 health-based places of safety in Kent and Medway on Have Your Say - Public consultation: Improving Section 136 health-based places of safety | Have Your Say In Kent and Medway


Papers from the ICB board meeting can be found on the NHS Kent and Medway website.

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