Mental Health Charities Warn Of Cuts

Six Mental Health Charities Have Claimed That Lives Are Being Put At Risk By Budget Cuts

14.03.2014

Six mental health charities have claimed that patient safety is being put at risk because of a shrinking resource pool in the NHS.

Mental health NHS trusts have been asked by NHS England to reduce their budgets by 20 per cent in the next few years as part of a wider campaign to minimise wastage.

But campaigners have claimed that this will put patient safety at risk, especially as waiting times for psychiatrists and professional listeners are often in excess of six months at present.

The Mental Health Foundation, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network and the Centre for Mental Health and the Royal College of Psychiatrists all came together to release a letter - which was seen by the BBC - warning that the service is already underfunded.

One of the charities that signed the letter said that half of early intervention programmes aimed at young people have been cut in the past year - something that may lead to higher suicide rates in the coming years.
Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Centre for Mental Health, said: "Early Intervention in psychosis services are known to be highly effective in helping young people to negotiate their first episode of psychosis.

"They offer hope of a brighter future by helping young people to stay in education, to get and keep work, and to support their physical health."

However, NHS England claims that it is working to make sure that people receive the care that they need and dispelled fears that patient safety could be put at risk.

Recent research from the London School of Economics shows that 30,000 people have lost their mental health social care support since 2005 because of changes in budgeting priorities, as well as staff shortages in certain areas.

Figures released last year showed that waiting times for people looking to receive counselling or other mental health services were often over six months.

If you or a loved one has suffered due to professional or clinical negligence from a mental health practitioner, or at worst your loved one has died, we can help you to claim compensation. Visit our Mental Health Negligence Claims page for more information.

Expert Opinion
The concerns raised by these charities are clearly worrying and it is vital that any changes to the health service are not to the detriment of patient safety in general.

"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.

"It is important that the NHS and Government listen to the concerns of the charities involved in this call to hear first-hand their views on this topic, with the ultimate aim of ensuring that the voices of vulnerable members of society are always heard."
Lisa Jordan, Partner