Mental Health Cuts 'Putting Patients At Risk'

Cuts To Mental Health Services Are Putting Patients At Risk, According To Dr Andrew Collier


Dr Andrew Collier, co-chair of the British Medical Association's (BMA) junior doctors committee, believes cuts to mental health budgets are putting patients at risk.

Within the last three years, mental health services in England have seen cuts to bed numbers of nine per cent.

But according to Dr Collier, this is ineffective, as one Trust spent hundreds of thousands of pounds putting patients into bed and breakfasts because no alternative accommodations was available, reports the Guardian.

Not only is this bad for the NHS financially, with much-needed money wasted, it also takes patients away from their families and friends, reducing their chances of a recovery and potentially making their condition worse.

The cuts also had other negative effects, and according to Dr Collier, doctors were being forced to discharge patients as quickly as possible in order to free up beds.

Dr Collier stated: "Time and again we're told that when beds are cut it's part of an overall strategy to invest in better, improved services but I'm beginning to think that's not the case.

"The situation is now so bad that a quarter of junior doctors working in psychiatry have been told that unless the patient is subject to the Mental Health Act, a bed won't be found."

Dr Collier called for an end to cuts and suggested there should be investment in mental health trusts to help them to deal more effectively with their growing workload.

This is not the first time that cuts to mental health budgets have been brought up in recent months.

In May, BBC research found the number of patients travelling long distances to seek emergency treatment for mental health issues rose from 1,301 in 2011-12 to 3,024 in 2013-14.

One case involved a patient being admitted to a deaf unit for their treatment because no beds were available anywhere else in the country - something that the government has sought to avoid.

Sometimes mental health professionals can fail in the duty of care. If you or a loved one has suffered due to professional or medical negligence we can help you to claim compensation. Visit our Mental Health Negligence Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The research as to the number of patients forced to travel long distances to seek emergency treatment is very worrying and it is important that this is addressed to ensure that the numbers begin to reduce.

“Patients always deserve to have access to the best possible standard of care and this is something that hospitals and other care facilities cannot ignore. Tragically, we see numerous cases in which people have suffered injuries or died as a result of not being given timely mental health treatment and support. This absolutely has to change.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner