An NHS watchdog has revealed that thousands of mental health patients are being kept on secure wards for years instead of being rehabilitated and prepared to leave hospital.
Fewer psychiatric beds
We have sleep-walked into a situation where our politicians have told us that we need fewer and fewer psychiatric beds and that care can be provided in the community.
But, silently, in the background, as risk management trumps clinical care, the secure estate has expanded (with much assistance from the private sector which is much more flexible) and, without anyone designing it thus, we are surprised to find that we are back to where we started.
Students of history should be aware that, in the words of Ecclesiastes: ‘there is nothing new under the sun’. This is the inevitable consequence of promoting fear (of mental illness) over care.
It will require more than an inspector’s report to change the direction of travel. It requires a national conversation. This is not likely to happen just now. The government has other fish to fry.
Dr Danny Allen, Consultant Psychiatrist is commenting after reading an article in The Guardian https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/20/thousands-of-mental-health-patients-spend-years-on-secure-wards-nhs