Rose tinted view needs to change: England’s mental health services ‘in crisis’By Michael Buchanan

The Guardian 16th October 2013 – Ben Page reports:

A new poll shows people are starting to recognise we have to limit NHS spending but our pride in the health service is a major hurdle to delivering a more efficient service

England’s mental health services ‘in crisis’

By Michael Buchanan BBC News

Guardian Professional 17th October (Sarah Johnston) reports:

Mental health maligned in NHS with huge gaps in services

Senior NHS England official says much of the stigma can be found within the healthcare profession itself

Impact of mental health service cuts

The Guardian Letters Thursday 17 October 2013 

The wider implications should be heeded of the sentencing of a homeless man with paranoid schizophrenia for the stabbing to death of two Big Issue sellers (Report, 16 October). As John Bird, founder of the Big Issue, observes, the tragedy is an opportunity to reflect on the impact of cuts to mental health services. I visit mental health facilities on a weekly basis to review the detention of compulsorily detained patients. It has been increasingly apparent for months that patients are being admitted to hospitals hundreds of miles from where they live because of the lack of beds in their own locality.

This impression is now given an evidential basis by the BBC and Community Care investigations which used freedom of information requests to identify that at least 1,711 psychiatric beds have closed since April 2011, most of them in acute adult wards, older people’s wards and psychiatric intensive care units. Not only is admission to facilities far from home detrimental to the wellbeing of patients because of the disruption to their support networks, the increased complexity of setting up and monitoring their care after discharge from hospital in rare cases compromises public safety.

It is an inadequate response by the Department of Health to cite increased numbers of service users being seen in their own homes. Improvements in community care are obviously welcome, but do not obviate the need to provide appropriate hospital care for those who are acutely ill. Depositing people far from their homes is reminiscent of Hieronymus Bosch’s painting The Ship of Fools and invokes medieval attitudes towards people who are mentally unwell. Professor emeritus Nick Gould Department of social and policy sciences, University of Bath

This entry was posted in Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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