One in five cases in which patients attend A&E needing mental healthcare are spending more than 12 hours in the department – at least double the rate of patients with physical health problems.
Unpublished internal NHS data seen by HSJ also suggests the proportion of mental health patients suffering long waits in accident and emergency has almost tripled when compared to the situation before the pandemic.
According to the data, the proportion of attendances by patients with a mental health problem who waited more than 12 hours in A&E before being admitted or discharged increased from 7% (34,945 breaches) in 2019-20 to 20% (88,250 breaches) in 2022-23.
The situation has become so difficult, that some acute trusts are spot purchasing private sector mental health in order to discharge patients.
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Source: HSJ, 5 June 2023