POLICE are set to cut down on mental health callouts, prompting fears the NHS could be placed under increased pressure.

‘Right Care, Right Person’ is being rolled out by police forces across the country, ensuring people in crisis are supported by health professionals, in turn freeing up officers to focus on fighting crime.

However, MP for Weaver Vale Mike Amesbury fears that without extra funding, the NHS won’t be able to cope with the increased demand.

He said: “In future, Cheshire Constabulary will no longer respond to emergency calls relating to someone’s mental health, unless there is a threat to life or a risk of significant harm, or if a crime is being committed.

“Police understandably wish to concentrate on their core role of preventing and investigating crime. And while officers are compassionate and highly skilled in many areas, it’s recognised they do not have the expertise to deal with people going through a mental health crisis.”

“Clearly this is unsatisfactory all-round. But where is the NHS going to find the resources to assume responsibility for patients from the moment an emergency call is made?

“I have been reassured the changes will be phased in between now and 2025 but I know local mental health trusts, for example, are already struggling to meet current levels of demand.”

Right Care, Right Person is being launched by Cheshire Police incrementally, starting in September.

Assistant Chief Constable Bill Dutton said: “Protecting the public, especially those who are vulnerable, will always be a core role of policing and we will keep this at the centre of any decisions we make about incidents reported.

“However, police officers often spend a lot of time looking after people with mental health or social care needs who require specialist medical care that our officers cannot provide.

“It’s vitally important that vulnerable people are given the right support in a timely manner, and we are now working with health and social care providers across the county to help ensure that this is achieved following the implementation of Right Care Right Person.

“There will still be times when we need to attend incidents alongside medical or mental health workers, and we remain fully committed to protecting people in our communities where there is a risk to life or a risk of serious harm.”

Minister for Mental Health Maria Caulfield said the government will invest an additional £2.3 billion into mental health services by next March, meaning two million more people will be able to get the support they needed.

She added: “Anyone going through something as awful as a mental health crisis deserves to know they’ll receive the best possible emergency response. It’s vital the right people who are trained and skilled to deal with the situation are on the scene to assist.

“That’s why this national agreement is so important. It will ensure the most appropriate health care is provided as quickly as possible.”