A draft NHSE statement suggests mental trusts could be asked to eradicate features of the ‘serenity integrated mentoring’ (SIM) care model from clinical practice, following a whirlwind of concerns in 2021 and an investigation by national clinical director Tim Kendall.
A core feature of SIM is to place a police officer within a healthcare team charged with supporting patients who frequently attend emergency services in crisis, and creating crisis plans.
The draft position statement produced by NHSE, which the regulator said is not its final version and is subject to changes, says SIM should not be used.
It also proposes the eradication of the following practices from any equivalent care model:
- Police involvement in delivery of therapeutic interventions in planned, non-emergency, community mental healthcare;
- The use of coercion, sanctions (criminal or otherwise), withholding care and otherwise punitive approaches; and
- Discriminatory practices and attitudes towards patients who express self-harm behaviours, suicidality and/or those who are deemed “high intensity users”.
The statement, which is the first indication of NHSE’s position on the SIM model but not its final stance, also suggests Professor Kendall will be seeking assurance from trust medical directors that SIM or similar models, and the above three features of concern, are no longer used. A full policy and public statement on the model is expected by the spring.
The StopSIM coalition, whose campaigning prompted the NHSE review, said: “Unless and until the full policy is freely available to service users and the public, service users are not equipped to protect themselves against the dangers of SIM and similar approaches".
Further reading on the hub:
The High Intensity Network (HIN) approach and SIM model for mental health care and 'high intensity users' – views and discussion
StopSIM: Mental health is not a crime
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