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Mental health beds shortage 'causing distress'

More mental health hospital beds are needed in England to end the "distressing" sending of patients far from home, analysis suggests. Patients with conditions such as schizophrenia can be sent to hospitals miles away from their home if their nearby units do not have space. 

The Department of Health aims to end inappropriate far-away placements by 2021. But the Royal College of Psychiatrists report suggested the push had stalled. The number of inappropriate out-of-area placements at any one time has been consistently between 700 and 800 patients in recent months, after dipping below 600 towards the end of 2018.

Marjorie Wallace, Chief Executive of the charity Sane, said the drive to cut bed numbers had been "relentless" and caused "widespread distress and neglect".

"Far too many people contacting us are being shunted around the country like unwanted parcels," she said. "We believe this has led to ever more patients left at risk of self-harm and suicide."

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Source: BBC News, 6 November 2019


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