Studies on care of mentally ill show 'unequal lottery'

TREATMENT of mentally ill people is an unequal lottery, according to three studies released yesterday.

Whereas those leaving Victorian asylums get model care, others are turned away from general hospitals because of ward closures and languish in bed and breakfast hostels.

The studies led to calls for the Government to help 'revolving door' patients who never stayed in asylums but did the rounds of sleeping rough, spending short spells in hospital and prison.

The details, set out at a major London conference on psychiatric services, describe how one London area last year lost one quarter of its psychiatric beds as the number of patients rose by nearly 20 per cent.

The crisis in Bloomsbury and Islington meant that the numbers refused a bed trebled and those admitted were discharged a fortnight earlier than usual.

Dr Robert Sammut, who conducted the study, told the conference, hosted by the Team for the Assessment of Psychiatric Services (TAPS), of plunging staff morale, overcrowding and unacceptable violence. Since then, pounds 1m has been injected into the service. However, mentally-ill people are gravitating to other crisis-hit London areas at a time of swingeing cuts.

A study of bed and breakfast hostels in Southend found schizophrenics living in delapidated conditions, with poor medical back-up. Research shows neglect leads to serious deterioration in patients who end up in hospital, prison, homeless or dead.

The London Hospital Institute of Psychiatry found that 'all bed and breakfast residents in two of the hotels studied had had psychiatric admission in the past'. Few had come from asylums, but 70 per cent were schizophrenic. Many of them were not in contact with psychiatric services, which were 'less than adequate'.

In contrast, latest figures from a study conducted by TAPS to monitor the flagship London closure programmes at Friern and Claybury long-stay hospitals, show patients thriving in the community. Professor Julian Leff reported that, after the first year, only 6 out of 500 patients had become vagrant and the rest showed no changes in mental state or problems with behaviour.

These patients had been the subject of long-term planning and have been accommodated successfully in staffed group homes of about five people.

A follow-up two years after discharge reports significant increases in levels of anxiety, phobia and incontinence combined with increased psychotic behaviour and a fall-off in friendships.

However, Dr David Dayson of the Maudsley Hospital, south London, who did the follow-up, found no overall increase in readmissions. Patients were better able to cook for themselves and did not wish to return to the old asylums.

Jerry Westall, of the National Schizophrenia Fellowship, said: 'Clearly, there is good news about patients from the old asylums. These elderly, long-stay patients are doing well. Meanwhile, thousands of seriously ill, often younger, people are in and out of general hospitals which are overcrowded, or even turn them away. Proper attention must be paid to their plight.'

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
Arts and Entertainment
Up my street: The residents of the elegant Moray Place in Edinburgh's Georgian New Town
tvBBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past
Albus Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry has been the teaching profession's favourite teacher
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Cheesecake frozen yoghurt by Constance and Mathilde Lorenzi
food + drinkThink outside the cool box for this summer’s frozen treats
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Sir Bradley Wiggins removes his silver medal after the podium ceremony for the men’s 4,000m team pursuit in Glasgow yesterday
Commonwealth games Disappointment for Sir Bradley in team pursuit final as England are forced to settle for silver
Alistair Brownlee (right) celebrates with his gold medal after winning the men’s triathlon alongside brother Jonny (left), who got silver
England's Jodie Stimpson won the women’s triathlon in the morning
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SQL Report Analyst (SSRS, CA, SQL 2012)

£30000 - £38500 Per Annum + 25 days holiday, pension, subsidised restaurant: C...

Application Support Analyst (SQL, Incident Management, SLAs)

£34000 - £37000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Embedded Software / Firmware Engineer

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Pension, Holiday, Flexi-time: Progressive Recruitm...

Developer - WinForms, C#

£280 - £320 per day: Progressive Recruitment: C#, WinForms, Desktop Developmen...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform