Mentally ill patients 'left at risk due to pressure to free up beds'

Medical Government/ NHS related news

A new report from the watchdog Healthwatch England has indicated that mentally ill patients are being put at risk due to a pressure to free up beds.

According to data from 32 mental health trusts produced via a Freedom of Information request, psychiatric patients now spend six fewer days in hospital than in 2012-13, with the average number of bed days per patient per year falling by ten percent.

“A Healthwatch England Report has raised concerns that too many mentally ill patients may be being discharged from hospital without adequate support in place.“

Due to a lack of resources supporting inpatient care, many individuals are being discharged too early, without due consideration given to how they will be looked after once they reenter the community.

Healthwatch England chairwoman Anna Bradley said: "What is particularly problematic is when people leave institutions, they cannot access the support they need in the community. We have heard of cases where people have taken their own lives."

This is despite the government's stated objectives of improving mental health care standards in the NHS and prioritising the greater use of community-based care and support services - both of which were reiterated by health secretary Jeremy Hunt upon confirmation he will continue in the role following the recent Conservative election victory.

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