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Cases of psychosis rise significantly over the past two years in England

Cases of psychosis have risen significantly in England during the pandemic, according to new NHS data.

The number of people referred to mental health services for their first suspected episode of psychosis increased by 75% between April 2019 and April 2021, figures showed.

The data, which has been analysed by the charity Rethink Mental Illness, showed that much of the increase in referrals has happened over the last year, after the first national lockdown.

The charity, Rethink Mental Illness, said that the data offers some of the first concrete evidence of the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of the population.

It is calling on the government to invest more in early intervention for psychosis to halt the further deterioration in people’s conditions.

The NHS defines psychosis as “when people lose some contact with reality”. This could involve seeing or hearing things that other people cannot see or believing things that are not actually true.

People experiencing symptoms of psychosis need to seek medical help very quickly and charity Rethink Mental Illness is campaigning to get people faster access to vital treatment.

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Source: The Independent, 18 October 2021

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Concern police will be able to ‘strong-arm’ NHS to hand over patient data under new plans

Police forces will be able to “strong-arm” NHS bodies into handing over confidential patient data under planned laws that have sparked fury from doctors’ groups and the UK’s medical watchdog.

Ministers are planning new powers for police forces that would “set aside” the existing duty of confidentiality that applies to patient data held by the NHS and will instead require NHS organisations to hand over data police say they need to prevent serious violence.

Last week, England’s national data guardian, Dr Nicola Byrne, told The Independent she had serious concerns about the impact of the legislation going through parliament, and warned that the case for introducing the sweeping powers had not been made.

Now the UK’s medical watchdog, the General Medical Council (GMC), has also criticised the new law, proposals for which are contained in the Police, Crime and Sentencing Bill, warning it fails to protect patients’ sensitive information and could disproportionately hit some groups and worsen inequalities.

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Source: The Independent, 18 October 2021

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