UK Politics

Mental health detentions up by 10% in England

Hospital bed Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Mental health charities say there should be more hospital beds for people with serious mental health illnesses

There were 58,000 detentions under the Mental Health Act in England in the 12 months to March this year - a rise of 10% on the previous year, figures show.

Under the Mental Health Act, people with mental health disorders can be admitted to hospital against their wishes for treatment.

The statistics are from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

A mental health charity said doctors were being forced to detain patients in order to find them a hospital bed.

The HSCIC report shows that there has been a steady rise in detentions over the past three years.

An additional 4,000 people were detained or sectioned in NHS hospitals and 1,270 in private hospitals from April 2014 to March 2015, compared to the previous 12 months.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said the rise in people detained under the Mental Health Act was concerning - but not a surprise.

She said doctors were being forced to use the Act to get patients a hospital bed for treatment, often sending them to unfamiliar hospitals far from friends and family.

She added: "It is a scandal that you have to be sectioned in order to get treatment.

"What we need is more, rather than fewer, beds where those who need sanctuary and healing can receive help without having to be deprived of their liberty."

Another report from the HSCIC found that one in 28 adults was in contact with mental health services last year in England.

That amounts to 1.85 million people accessing mental health and learning disability services in England in the 12-month period until the end of March.

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