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Mental health director: 'We have to get it right'

The mental health service in England is in crisis and unsafe, says one of the country's leading psychiatrists.

Dr Martin Baggaley, medical director of the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, spoke out as an investigation by BBC News and Community Care magazine revealed more than 1,500 mental health beds have closed in recent years.

Dr Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for Mental Health from NHS England, told the Today programme's Mishal Husain that mental health services "are under pressure", but declined to say whether she would describe it as "in crisis" or not.

"What we need to get right is the balance of beds," she said.

"One thing we have to do is commission the right number of beds... we need to make sure the commissioners have the level of information that they need," she added.

She went on to suggest the services were improving: "Statistics... show that in the last year we have had 6,000 more people treated at home by our intensive treatment teams."

"We have to get it right," she insisted.

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Wednesday 16 October 2013.

  • 16 Oct 2013
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