The BBC has obtained figures from the NHS that show delays in discharging people from mental health trusts have more than doubled in a year, much more of a rise than in acute hospitals.
Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, said:
“When you are hospitalised in a mental health crisis, you are at your most unwell and desperately need the right care at the right time. These data show that people are not being discharged at the right time, which we believe may be due to a lack of proper care available after people leave hospital.
“The time after leaving hospital is critical as that is when people are at the greatest risk of taking their own lives. People need the right support to recover and manage their mental health properly, and trusts should be planning properly for discharge from the point at which someone goes into hospital.
“These types of problems are symptomatic of mental health historically not being given the attention and funding it deserves - mental health services have been underfunded for decades, at a time of rising demand. We see the consequences of this in people being sent miles from their local area for care, or potentially not getting into hospital in the first place while in crisis.
“The NHS has committed to investing in mental health services but we haven’t yet seen this positively impact on people with mental health problems. Local commissioners are currently setting their budgets for next year and must make mental health a priority to avert another year of crisis in mental health funding. They must ensure that the funding promised by the Government as part of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health reaches the frontline.”
Find out more about the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health.