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Mental health patients must receive care closer to home

Posted in: Medical Negligence 

In a report published following an Independent Commission chaired by ex-NHS chief executive Lord Crisp, it has been stated that the current practice of mentally ill patients having to travel long distances is unacceptable. It has recommended that from October of 2017, patients with acute mental issues must receive care closer to home. It identified around 500 patients in England who are having to travel more than 50km (31 Miles) every month for treatment due to a lack of acute inpatient services or beds being available locally. It said that some of those cases could be potentially dangerous.

Psychiatric patients should be treated in same way as those with physical problems

Recommendations about how to improve services have been backed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Those recommendations include a maximum waiting time of four hours for those requiring acute psychiatric care, either in a local hospital or in the community. It also stressed that psychiatric patients should be treated in the same way as those with physical problems.

Commenting on the report, President of the RCP, Prof Sir Simon Wessely described it as scandalous that patients have to travel the length and breadth of the country in search of a bed. He felt that making more beds available was a solution in the short term, but added that the whole system needs reassessed.

More than 105,000 patients were admitted to hospital in England in 2013-14, and around 1.7 million patients used psychiatric services.  It has been acknowledged by health experts that investment into the service is long overdue.

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