A new process to transition patients dealing with mental health and addiction issues from police supervision to hospital care was unveiled Friday.

Minister of Health Christine Elliott was at Bluewater Health in Sarnia, Ont. to announce the framework aimed at improving patient access to care on they arrive in the emergency room.

In a statement Elliott said, "The new framework will help reduce stigma and support timely access to coordinated, critical services. This is part of our cross-government work to build a comprehensive and connected mental health and addictions strategy."

There are concerns that those in crisis can be left under police supervision for up to eight hours, which can be distressing for the patient as well as others in hospital, and keep officers from frontline duties.

The new framework was develped in collaboration with health care partners and police services.

The Mental Health Engagement and Response Team (MHEART), a new mobile crisis intervention team made up of mental health nurses, was also launched in Sarnia to work with police in the field in high-pressure situations.

A new mental health approach unveiled today in Lambton County. The Mental Health Engagement and Response team (MHEART) will pair mental health workers with police to de-escalate crises and connect clients with vital services. Inspector Chris Avery helped launch the program. ^dr pic.twitter.com/AvXX0bCOVk

— OPP West (@OPP_WR) August 9, 2019