The pressure that healthcare professionals are facing when it comes to freeing up mental health beds has raised concerns that vulnerable people are being left at risk and without the support they need to make a full recovery.
Healthwatch England obtained data which shows that psychiatric patients are spending six fewer days in hospital compared to 2012-13 which is a yearly decrease of 10%. One of the biggest wor-ries is that when patients are discharged from hospital, they often struggle to access the crisis treatment they need and as a result, many people have taken their own lives.
In fact, new statistics show that in recent years, the number of suicides amongst patients who are being cared for at home has been double that of inpatients. The Chairman of the National Suicide Prevention Strategy Advisory Group, Professor Louis Appleby, said that treatment is increasingly being provided outside of hospitals and whilst many patients prefer home care, it does present risks:
“The ideological drive towards services in the community and away from beds can go too far. Eventually that drive crosses a line - and that line is safety. If you combine the ideological drive with pressure on resources, you have a toxic combination.”
Another huge concern is that at the same time patients are spending fewer days in hospital, invest-ment in the key community teams which have been set up to replace inpatient care has fallen as well. Despite the fact that mental health accounts for 23% of the burden of disease in England, it only receives 11% of the funding which means that it’s still massively underfunded compared to physical healthcare.
If you think that you or someone you know could be suffering with depression or any other mental health illness, please feel free to visit our Knowledge Centre for more information. You can also contact us to get help today.