The Independent Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care was set up by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in January 2015 in response to widespread concerns about the provision of acute inpatient psychiatric beds in many parts of England and Northern Ireland.
We must put an end to the postcode lottery that people with mental health problems are experiencing. It is essential that when someone has a mental health problem and they are in crisis that they can reach out and always get the support they need as swiftly as possible.
Today the commission has released a report making 12 recommendations it believes will help to close the gap that exists between mental and physical health provision, including:
- The introduction by October 2017 of a maximum waiting time of four hours for admission to an acute psychiatric ward for adults or acceptance for home based treatment following assessment.
- Phasing out nationally the practice of sending acutely ill patients long distances for non-specialist treatment by October 2017.
- The piloting of a Patients and Carers Race Equality Standard (see below) in mental health alongside other efforts to improve the experience of care for people from Black and Minority Ethnic communities.
Paul Farmer, Mind Chief Executive, says: “We welcome the recommendations of this new report led by Lord Crisp and hope that these proposals, combined with the upcoming NHS England taskforce report, will lead to real change to services and the experiences of people with mental health problems who use them.
“We must put an end to the postcode lottery that people with mental health problems are experiencing. It is unacceptable that people who are feeling suicidal or who may have self-harmed and are in desperate need of care find themselves trekking hundreds of miles across the country to get help. It is essential that when someone has a mental health problem and they are in crisis that they can reach out and always get the support they need as swiftly as possible.
“It is so important that people can get the help they need within their own communities. When you are at your lowest ebb, feeling scared, vulnerable and alone, your family and friends form a vital support network that is really important to recovery. Local commissioners and providers must make sure that sufficient beds are available to meet demand.
“Mental health has historically been underfunded and the scandal around out of areas placements is a symptom of a mental health service in dire need of significant investment. A mental health crisis is an emergency just like a physical health emergency and we should not be prepared to tolerate a second rate service for either."