Steve Chamberlain and Ruth F Hunt on the need for urgent investment to support those who need help in hospitals and at home
You report (5 July) that mental health beds have reduced by 25% since 2010. The number of detentions under the Mental Health Act increased during the same period by 50%. As a result, there are increasingly long waits for admission, a lack of alternatives to inpatient care and regular admission to private hospitals (paid for by the NHS) many miles from the person’s home, family and community.
During the pandemic, patients requiring ventilation were moved to distant hospitals. This became headline news. It is routine in mental health care. Last month, a man was admitted to hospital 240 miles from home due to a lack of a suitable bed. His mother drove to visit him and had to stay in a B&B due to the distance. He is now closer to home, in another private hospital “only” 63 miles away.