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Leaked emails raise flag on ‘extremely concerning’ bed shortage

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‘Systemic’ problems within mental health services in Birmingham have caused the number of people waiting for an inpatient bed to reach ‘extremely concerning’ levels, according to documents leaked to HSJ.

There are currently 41 people waiting to be admitted to a bed by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (BSMHFT) , according to internal documents, while 36 people have already had to be sent to private sector facilities up to 150 miles away.

The NHS in the area has indicated to HSJ  that it is due to need for “intensive levels of care” now growing because of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In an email thread, sent to 60 people in the trust including senior executives, one senior clinician wrote in response to the bed figures: “The number of patients with Mental Health Act assessments completed is extremely concerning. This needs to be escalated to commissioners. The problem is systemic.”

It comes after an HSJ investigation earlier this year into the deaths of 12 patients under BSMHFT’s services. It revealed senior medics had repeatedly warned the trust about severe bed shortages and a lack of capacity within home treatment services.

The trust said it was addressing the issues raised, but senior clinicians told HSJ this week the trust is still short of at least 80 adult mental health beds.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 15 October 2020

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