Jump to content

Woman suffering mental health crisis left waiting eight days in A&E

An 18-year-old woman suffering a mental health crisis was forced to wait eight-and-a-half days in A&E before getting a bed in a psychiatric hospital – believed to be the longest such wait seen in the NHS.

Louise (not her real name) had to be looked after by the police and security guards and sleep in a chair and on a mattress of the floor in the A&E at St Helier hospital in Sutton, south London, because no bed was available in a mental health facility.

She became increasingly “dejected, despairing and desperate” as her ordeal continued and, her mental health worsening while she waited, self-harmed by banging her head off a wall. She absconded twice because she did not know when she would finally start inpatient treatment.

Louise arrived at St Helier on the evening of  Thursday 16 June and did not get a bed in an NHS psychiatric unit until the early hours of Saturday 25 June, more than eight days later. She was diagnosed last year with emotionally unstable personality disorder and ADHD.

The mental health charity Mind said it believed it to be the longest wait in A&E ever endured by someone experiencing a mental health crisis, and described it as “unacceptable, disgraceful and dangerous”. It called for urgent action to tackle the inadequacy of NHS mental health provision and bed numbers.

“An eight-and-a-half day wait in A&E for a mental health bed is both unacceptable and disgraceful. Mind has never heard of a patient in crisis waiting this long to receive the care they need, and serious questions need to be raised as to how anyone – let alone an 18-year-old – was left to suffer for so long without the care she needs,” said Rheian Davies, the head of Mind’s legal unit.

“This is dangerous for staff, who are not trained to give the acute care the patient needs, and dangerous for the patient, who needs that care immediately – not over a week later."

Read full story

Source: The Guardian, 4 July 2022


Recommended Comments

There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...