NHS mental health care in ‘crisis’ due to lack of beds, leading psychiatrist warn
Ministers say the problems stem from an ‘institutional bias’ against mental health
NHS services for mental health patients are in “crisis” and unsafe, according to one of the UK’s most senior psychiatrists.
The number of beds available in specialist units has been reduced by 9 per cent since April 2011 – a loss of more than 1,500 – preventing vulnerable people from getting the care they need.
In an investigation by the BBC News and Community Care magazine, 46 of England’s 58 mental health trusts responded to Freedom of Information requests looking into ward occupancy levels and cuts to available beds.
It found that three-quarters of the 1,711 bed closures were in acute adult wards, older people's wards and psychiatric intensive care units.
Dr Martin Baggaley, the medical director for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, said: “We are in a real crisis at the moment. I think currently the system is inefficient, unsafe.”
“We're certainly feeling it on the front line, it's very pressured, and we spend a lot of our time struggling to find beds, sending people across the country which is really not what I want to do.”
The average occupancy level of beds in acute adult and psychiatric wards was 100 per cent, and all were above the 85 per cent limit recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The care minister Norman Lamb told the BBC the current “unacceptable” situation came as a result of the NHS’s “institutional bias” against mental health issues.
The broadcaster quoted Dr Baggaley as saying there is currently not a single bed available in London, and that he had 50 patients from his trust placed elsewhere, including some as far away as Somerset.
Mr Lamb said: “Current levels of access to mental health treatment are unacceptable. There is an institutional bias in the NHS against mental health and I am determined to end this.
“More people are being treated in the right settings for them, including fewer people needing to go into hospitals. It is essential that people get the treatment they need early and in the community but beds must be available if patients need them.”
- 2 California man brutally beat 82-year-old Sikh grandfather he mistook for 'one of those people'
- 3 School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
- 4 Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
- 5 Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Amber Peat: Body found in search for missing 13-year-old who left house after argument with her parents
School kitchen manager 'fired from Colorado school for giving hungry students free lunches'
Amy Schumer: 'I'm 160lbs and can catch a d**k any time I want'
Isis executes three gay men by dangling them from top of 100ft building and letting go
Alton Towers crash: Four guests seriously injured as Smiler ride carriages collide
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Church of England 'one generation away from extinction' after dramatic loss of followers
Russian 'aggression' sees Poland rearm its military as minister warns: 'We must be ready'
£40000 - £47000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A 3rd Line Virtualisation / Sto...
£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A successful national service f...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£17500 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We currently require an experie...