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10,000 fewer mental health patients hospital beds

Friday 28 February 2014, 17:33

David Lewis David Lewis Producer 5 live

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5 live Investigates on Sunday 2nd March looks at the pressure on emergency mental health services.

With a sharp reduction in in-patient beds in England, down by one third over the last 10 years, the programme asks if mental health services are in crisis.

NHS England figures of the number of beds for mental health patients: Ten years ago for the year 2003/4 = 32,252; five years ago for the year 2008/9 = 26,448; in January 2014 there were 21,931.

Which means 10,321 fewer mental health beds in the past ten years and 4,517 fewer mental health beds in the past five years.

We’ll hear from patients and families who feel let down by the system. We’ll also reflect the thinking of the NHS which wants to improve working between the different agencies helping people in crisis.

Psychiatrists feel the pressure on mental health beds means people are only being admitted into hospital when very ill, and others are at risk of being discharged too early.

Dr Ali Al-allaq, a psychiatrist who assesses people in crisis in London, believes delays in assessment increase the likelihood of people needing to be sectioned.

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The charity MIND says “we're beginning to see the warning signs of an emerging crisis in access to care".

Sunday 2nd March 
5 live Investigates at 11am.


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    Comment number 1.

    In many ways it is a shame they closed the large mental hospitals and encouraged patients to live in the community. Many people with serious mental health issues cannot cope with modern life and now have to try to live in a world that is alien to them causing other problems for people. My son was randomly punched in the face by a mental health patient in the street, thankfully not much damage was done but it could have been much worse and has been for many families.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    For the government to claim they are intervening early is nonsense, Waiting lists for some IAPT talking therapy services in my area is over a year.


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