Thousands of mental health patients continue to be cared for miles from home, despite government commitment to end “harmful” practices
According to a BMA study, thousands of people with severe mental health are still being sent from places where they still live to receive treatment despite the Government’s commitment to end the “harmful and destructive” practice by April next year.
The new findings came as the BMA revealed more than two years ago how the record of sick patients had been separated from families and local support services due to a lack of local beds.
New analysis Doctor The magazine found that of the trusts in England that had comparable data between 2018 and 2020, nearly half (47%) had sent patients to bed 100 times or more “from 2020 to August” until August 2020.
At least seven trusts doubled their internships outside the field until August 12, 2020 compared to the same period in 2017/18.
Although there were some declines among trustees, the number of inappropriate OOA locations increased by 38% of 40 trusts between 2018 and 2020 with comparable data.
Findings from Freedom of Information requests have also revealed that some of the Clinical Committees that fund and therefore fix bed numbers intend to increase local bed capacity – something that is very necessary to stop patients from being sent miles from home. care.
The BMA has concluded that it is almost inevitable that the Government will lose its goal of eliminating inappropriate practices outside the area by April next year – a commitment made by the NHS England in its 2016 mental health review.
Now, the BMA estimates that at least an additional 1,000 beds for mental illness are needed to end this worrying practice with concerns that the effects of Covid-19 will increase bed demand.
In addition to increasing the number of mental health beds, the BMA calls for:
- A compelling plan to hire and retain more staff to build the capacity of mental health services across the country
- Stronger support for community mental health services
- Larger studies to increase the use of out-of-area use areas to inform the urgent development of CCG-level plans to both increase capacity and strengthen community services.
- Confidence and confidence in ensuring that the new NICE guidelines for complex psychosis (rehabilitation) are met so that they have adequate adaptation facilities for both the community and the hospitalized.
We do not see enough progress in ending the harmful and destructive practice of sending mental health patients out of treatment. This unacceptable and unnecessary practice causes distress to the most vulnerable in society, increases the risk of suicide, and separates people from their friends and family when such ties are needed. Although mental health leaders and providers have called for an end to this practice a few years ago, investing in mental health beds and good quality community care does not make them feel confident that the situation is bad or even worse. Addressing this is even more urgent with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the impact of the recession on the mental health of the population, along with the inevitable tightness in public finances. It is absolutely crucial that the Government recommends ending this practice by providing much-needed extra beds and ensuring optimal coordination of services before they get out of control. A moratorium on further bed-cutting is essential given the damage caused by the cuts in recent years, as well as the re-provision of services in hospitals and communities where there are gaps. ”
Dr. Andrew Molodynski, Head of BMA Mental Health Policy
People are much more likely to be cured of the disease if they are cared for close to home and close to family and friends. It is likely that the government will lose its goal to end the practice of sending patients out of the field inappropriately, but due to the pandemic we may not know how short they are. After the NHS England launched Covid-19 landed out-of-area data collection, we now don’t know how bad it is. The NHS needs to take action, make this data collection mandatory, and ask Trusts that do not share their numbers. In the short term, sites with high rates of unsuitable locations outside the area should be given the resources they need to invest in beds with the right staff. In the long term, community mental health services need to be improved so that more patients can be cared for in line with the commitments made in the NHS Long-Term Plan. The new basic community framework for mental health services provides reasons for optimism. Let’s hope that the significant investment promised will reach the front line. “
Dr. Adrian James, President of Royal Psychiatrists College
Today’s findings come a year after the BMA’s disappearance of NHS mental health rehabilitation rooms from Clinical Commission Groups and NHS trusts in England, leaving around five million people “stored” in these areas. private sector supply.