People are dying whilst waiting for mental health beds

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Posted on 28/11/2014

An investigation by Michael Buchanan from the BBC and Andy McNicoll from Community Care has found that seven people have taken their own lives in England since 2012 whilst waiting for beds. The data obtained under the Freedom of Information Act also shows that there are over 2000 fewer mental health beds in England than there were in 2011.

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: 

"This investigation shows the real and tragic consequence of not getting people the help they need, when they need it. A mental health emergency is as life-threatening as a physical health emergency but parts of the NHS are clearly struggling to provide an adequate emergency response. It costs lives."

"This is the moment to convert the rhetoric to reality. Commissioners need to choose to invest, not disinvest, in mental health services, both locally and nationally."

"Historical under-funding for mental health services compounded by cuts over three consecutive years have left services on the edge. Initiatives like the crisis care concordat can make a huge difference but only if services are properly funded. We need desperately to see investment in NHS mental health services yet, worryingly, Monitor’s proposals for the 2015/16 tariff include more cuts. Mental health services cannot continue to make savings without further compromising the safety and dignity of people trying to access care."

McNicoll and Buchanan were recently awarded the accolade of Journalist of the Year at the 2014 Mind Media Awards for their series of investigations highlighting cuts to mental health services.

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