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Found 168 results
  1. News Article
    Every child in Scotland will need additional mental health support as a consequence of measures taken to tackle the coronavirus crisis, according to the country’s children and young people’s commissioner. Speaking exclusively to the Guardian as he publishes Scotland’s comprehensive assessment of the impact of the pandemic on children’s rights – the first such review undertaken anywhere in the world – Bruce Adamson said the pandemic had sent a “very negative” message about how decision-makers value young people’s voices. He said Scotland has been viewed as a children’s rights champion but that efforts to involve young people in the dramatic changes being made to their education and support “went out the window as soon as lockdown came along”. There have been escalating concerns across the UK about children’s mental health after support structures were stripped away at the start of lockdown. Earlier this week, the Guardian revealed that five children with special educational needs have killed themselves in the space of five months in Kent, amidst warnings over the impact of school closures on pupils. Read full story Source: The Guardian, 16 July 2020
  2. News Article
    The NHS is losing more than 3.5 million days of work because of staff sickness linked to mental health problems, it has emerged. New data from NHS England shows the problem is getting worse with an increasing number of days and proportion of staff off sick for mental health reasons. The data runs from March 2019 to February 2020, before the coronavirus crisis. It is feared the pandemic could lead to lasting mental health issues for some NHS workers. Layla Moran, a Liberal Democrat MP who obtained the data through a parliamentary question, said: “These incredibly worrying figures show the mental health of NHS workers was already at a tipping point before the pandemic struck." Read full story Source: The Independent, 14 July 2020
  3. News Article
    Five NHS trusts in the South West have been ordered to make immediate improvements after the death of a 20-year-old prisoner who needed healthcare. Lewis Francis was arrested in Wells, Somerset, in 2017 after stabbing his mother while “acutely psychotic” and taken into custody. Although his condition mandated a transfer to a medium secure mental health hospital, there was “no mechanism” in place to move Mr Francis and he was taken to prison, where he died by suicide two days later, according to a coroner. Contributory factors to his death included “insufficient collaboration, communication and ownership between and within organisations… together with insufficient knowledge of… the Mental Health Act,” according to Nicholas Rheinberg, the assistant coroner for Exeter and Greater Devon. In a Prevention of Future Deaths report, Mr Rheinberg said a memorandum of understanding was in place for the transfer of “mentally ill prisoners direct from police custody” in the West Midlands, and he called on the South West Provider Collaborative to agree a similar deal with “relevant organisations and agencies”. Read full story (paywalled) Source: HSJ, 14 July 2020
  4. News Article
    Relatives of care home residents with dementia should be treated as key workers, leading charities say. In a letter to the health secretary, they write that the care given by family members is "essential" to residents' mental and physical health. They argue the current limits on visitors have had "damaging consequences" and they want visits to resume safely, with relatives given the same access to care homes and coronavirus testing as staff. Signed by the bosses of leading charities including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer's Society, the letter calls on the government to "urgently" address what it calls the "hidden catastrophe" happening in care homes. The charities say that this "enforced separation" has caused a "deterioration" in residents' mental and physical health, particularly for those living with dementia - who make up more than 70% of the population of care homes. Read full story Source: BBC News, 9 July 2020
  5. Content Article
    More than 16,000 people have shared their experiences of mental health during the pandemic as part of this research. More than two-thirds of adults with mental health problems reported that their mental health got worse during lockdown. As a direct consequence of the pandemic and all that follows, many people who were previously well will now develop mental health problems. Supported by these findings, Mind are urging the UK and Welsh Governments to put mental health at the very centre of their recovery plans. As we look to the future, those in power must make the right choices to rebuild services and support, and to ensure that the society that comes after the pandemic is kinder, fairer and safer for everyone experiencing a mental health problem.
  6. Content Article
    We need to listen to patients and commission research COVID-19 is a new virus and there is currently little understanding about long-term impacts[5] and why some people seem to recover quickly while others are left very unwell for months.[6] Prolonged symptoms vary greatly[7] but many are experiencing rashes, shortness of breath, neurological and gastrointestinal problems, abnormal temperatures, cardiac symptoms and extreme fatigue. Recent studies indicate COVID-19 can cause organ damage even where patients have been asymptomatic.[8] Research into the Long COVID cohort of patients is needed as a high priority. Without this, we won’t be able to assess the impact on patients, identify the causes and develop treatments with appropriate advice and support. This knowledge gap deserves immediate attention so that we can better understand how and why the virus has presented itself differently in these patients, many of whom are young and were previously fit and healthy.[9] Thousands of patients are reporting their experiences through social and mainstream media. Patients need to be assured that they are being listened to and that their insights and symptoms are being captured to better understand this disease. Without engaging with patients who are living through this, it will be impossible to gain the full picture and know how best to provide care and keep them safe. Call for action: There needs to be a scientific and global approach to the study of patients undergoing prolonged COVID-19 symptoms to understand the numbers affected, the causes, how long they remain contagious and to investigate possible treatments. Patients must be encouraged to speak up via their GPs, researchers and social media, and they must be listened to. Where patients are dissatisfied with the services and the support they are receiving, they should be encouraged to share this insight through online reporting and, if needed, the NHS complaints process. The Department of Health and Social Care should establish a Long COVID patient advisory group to inform the design of new services, support, research and patient communication. Urgent need for COVID-19 recovery guidance and support For ensuring an effective recovery from serious illnesses such as COVID-19, the importance of rehabilitation to long-term mental and physical health is widely recognised.[10] However, access to quality rehabilitation varies across the UK[11] and, during the pandemic, post COVID-19 support and rehabilitation have focused on the acutely unwell who have spent time in hospital.[12] Patient Safety Learning has heard testimonials from people with COVID-19 who are struggling to recover and have been unable to access support.[13] Although there has been an increase in guidance available for people recovering from COVID-19[14], these have in the main been designed for patients who have been acutely unwell and in hospital. If patients who are managing their illness and recovery from home don’t also receive the care and support they need, they face an increased risk that their physical and mental health outcomes could be adversely affected, limiting their future quality of life.[15] On 5 July 2020 it was announced that NHS England is launching a new service for people with on-going health problems after having COVID-19. "Your Covid Recovery" is an online portal for people in England to access tutorials, contact healthcare workers and track their progress. It is launching later this month and, ‘later in the summer’, tailored rehabilitation will also be offered to those who qualify, following an assessment (up to a maximum of 12 weeks).[16] Call for action: The development of national guidance co-produced with people who have lived experience of Long COVID, and the immediate and consistent application of this guidance. Quality rehabilitation support for Long COVID patients, whether they have confirmed or suspected COVID-19. Services to be provided for as long as people need them, wherever they live in the UK. The psychological impact of Long COVID on patients, with or without a formal diagnosis People who are experiencing prolonged symptoms of COVID-19 are telling us of the negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing.[17] We are hearing of huge variations in the care and advice these patients are being offered when accessing GP services. Many feel that they have been dismissed under catch-all diagnoses or made to question what they are feeling in their own bodies.[18] Frustrations around lack of clinical recognition for their illness is often exacerbated by receiving a negative test result. There is emerging evidence of the problematic nature of COVID-19 and antibody testing to accurately determine whether someone has or hasn’t been infected with COVID-19.[19] ‘False negatives’ can occur for a number of reasons including the challenging process of sample collection[20], the patient’s stage of illness and the failure rates of the tests themselves. Relapses seem common and many people are understandably worried that they may never return to their state of health pre-COVID. It may be that some of these patients are at the beginning of chronic illness, requiring appropriate physical and psychological support.[21] Are these patients’ experiences being believed by the healthcare system? If not, and this results in lack of access to support, then those experiencing long-term symptoms from COVID-19 are potentially at higher risk of developing mental health issues such as depression.[22] Call for action: Patients recovering from suspected Long COVID should be given the same support, regardless of whether they have had COVID-19 confirmed by a test result or not. Appropriate psychological support needs to be available to help patients come to terms with the impact of long-term illness. We need to learn whether unconscious bias about chronic illness is affecting professionals’ decision-making and patients’ access to services. If so, guidance, advice, training and support should be provided. Are serious conditions being overlooked? There is a risk that patients who are suspected or confirmed to have had COVID-19 may not have ‘red-flag’ symptoms (indicative of serious conditions) investigated in the way they would have done pre-pandemic[23], their symptoms instead being attributed to COVID-19. Many members of COVID-19 support groups report having to fight for referrals to rule out other pathologies. This is particularly worrying for people who have a history of cancer or other hereditary illnesses in their family. Their concern is that potential delays to diagnosis and treatment could have an adverse effect on a patient’s health outcomes.[24] Call for action: ‘Red flag’ symptoms that may be indicative of other conditions should be appropriately investigated in Long COVID patients. A second pair of ears Patients with prolonged symptoms are often experiencing what they describe as ‘brain-fog’[25], difficulties with memory or finding the right words, for example. Patient Safety Learning is hearing from those who have expressed a need to have another person attend their appointments to help communicate and to help them process everything in relation to their care. Due to concerns around infection control during the pandemic, such support isn’t always allowed, so there is a risk that patients could be left confused and overwhelmed, unable to engage actively in their care. This could significantly compromise their ability to keep themselves safe.[26] If this is recognised as an issue for those with prolonged COVID-19 symptoms, steps could be taken to ensure they are able to access support in the same way as those with other conditions that result in cognitive impairment. Call for action: Reasonable adjustments should be considered to allow a companion to accompany patients with debilitating symptoms (including ‘brain-fog’) to appointments, or to speak with a clinician over the phone. Health inequalities We now know from recent research that people from Black and Ethnic Minority backgrounds and people who live in deprived areas have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.[27] There is a significant amount of research looking at the difficulties people from ethnic minority backgrounds and deprived areas face with regard to accessing health services. The concern is that inequalities have the potential to widen if people with Long COVID are not appropriately supported. Call for action: Long COVID patients should be included in research and action being taken to address health inequalities and COVID-19. Rehabilitation outcomes should be monitored and reported so that learning can be captured and so that any emerging inequalities in access to services are identified and addressed quickly. Next steps Patient Safety Learning is calling for the safety of Long COVID patients to be considered as a matter of urgency. Our Chief Executive Helen Hughes comments: "It is understandable that the initial focus of care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been on acutely unwell and hospitalised patients. However, there is growing evidence that there are many patients recovering in the community with long-lasting symptoms who are feeling abandoned, confused and without support. We must take action to better understand the needs of these patients and provide them with safe and effective care for as long as they need." Patient Safety Learning is also supporting the broader calls for action by Dr Jake Suett, set out in his blog post on the hub. These call on Government, public health bodies, healthcare systems, sciences and society to take the following actions: Establish a scientific approach to the study of patients undergoing prolonged COVID-19 symptoms (ensuring the cohort that was not hospitalised and has persisting symptoms is also captured in this data). This needs to include epidemiological, mechanistic and treatment studies. The Long-term Impact of Infection with Novel Coronavirus (LIINC) study[28] being carried out at University of California San Francisco is a good example of the type of study required for capturing objective data on the full spectrum of COVID-19 disease, including in those individuals with a prolonged illness. Maintain an open-minded approach to the underlying pathophysiology of the condition and avoid labelling it with existing names until there is sufficient evidence to make these statements. Include Long COVID patients in the study design stages. Raise awareness amongst health professionals and make arrangements so that treatable pathology is investigated and ruled out. Provide information and guidelines on how to manage long-term COVID19. Raise awareness amongst employers. Consider the medical, psychological and financial support that may be required by these patients. When considering measures to ease the lock down, include a consideration of the risk of exposing additional people to prolonged COVID-19 symptoms and long-term health consequences. Ensure and clarify that the plans announced on 5 July 2020 for research and rehabilitation by NHS England do not inappropriately exclude those who have not required hospital admission, and do not exclude those who have been unable to access testing early on, or in whom a false negative test is suspected. It is important that similar services are available throughout the UK. We will continue to use the hub to highlight patients’ experiences and concerns about this issue. We will also be working with others to seek support for these actions and raise awareness of the patient safety implications of Long COVID with policymakers in Government and the health and social care system. References [1] Forbes, Report Suggests Some ‘Mildly Symptomatic’ COVID-19 Patients Endure Serious Long-Term Effects, 13 June 2020. https://www.forbes.com/sites/joshuacohen/2020/06/13/report-suggests-some-mildly-symptomatic-COVID-19-patients-endure-serious-long-term-effects/#216f1aa35979; COVID Symptom Study, How long does COVID last?, 8 June 2020. https://COVID.joinzoe.com/post/COVID-long-term; Huffington Post, ‘Long COVID’ – The Under-The-Radar Coronavirus Cases Exhausting Thousands, 2 June 2020. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/what-is-long-COVID-and-how-many-people-are-suffering_uk_5efb3487c5b612083c52d91d?guccounter=1; The Independent, ‘The fatigue has lasted for months and months’: Meet the ‘long haulers’ living with the long-term impact of COVID-19, 12 June 2020. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-long-tail-patients-symptoms-lockdown-a9563681.html [2] Facebook, Long COVID Support Group, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.facebook.com/groups/longCOVID; Facebook, Positive Path Of Wellness – (COVID UK Long Haulers), Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.facebook.com/groups/1190419557970588; Coronavirus – Survivors Group – COVID-19, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.facebook.com/groups/CVsurvivors [3] Asthma UK, “We have been totally abandoned” people left struggling for weeks as they recover from COVID at home, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.asthma.org.uk/about/media/news/post-COVID-abandoned/ [4] Dr Jake Suett, My experience of suspected 'Long COVID', Patient Safety Learning's the hub, 6 July 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-covid19/273_blogs/my-experience-of-suspected-long-covid-r2547/ [5] The Guardian, The coronavirus ‘long-haulers’ show how little we still know, 28 June 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/28/coronavirus-long-haulers-infectious-disease-testing; BBC News, Coronavirus: Calls for awareness of long-term effects, 19 June 2020. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-south-yorkshire-53084368 [6] BBC News, Coronavirus doctor’s diary: Why does COVID-19 make some health young people really sick?, 31 May 2020. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52853647 [7] The Independent, Coronavirus: Lesser-known symptoms that could be linked to COVID-19, 1 June 2020. https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/coronavirus-symptoms-loss-smell-taste-delirium-COVID-toe-syndrome-a9520051.html [8] Quan-Xin Long et al, Clinical and immunological assessment of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infections, Nature Medicine, 18 June 2020. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41591-020-0965-6.pdf [9] NewsLetter, A ‘fit and healthy’ 25 year old COVID-19 patient is urging young people to take coronavirus seriously, 31 March 2020. https://www.newsletter.co.uk/read-this/fit-and-healthy-25-year-old-COVID-19-patient-urging-young-people-take-coronavirus-seriously-2523383 [10] Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, The importance of community rehabilitation, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.csp.org.uk/professional-clinical/improvement-innovation/community-rehabilitation/importance-community [11] Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Rebab Matters, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.csp.org.uk/campaigns-influencing/campaigns/rehab-matters [12] NHS England, After-care needs of inpatients recovering from COVID-19, 5 June 2020. https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/06/C0388-after-care-needs-of-inpatients-recovering-from-COVID-19-5-june-2020-1.pdf [13] Barbara Melville, Dismissed, unsupported and misdiagnosed: Interview with a COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 24 June 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-COVID19/patient-recovery/resources-for-patients/dismissed-unsupported-and-misdiagnosed-interview-with-a-COVID-19-%E2%80%98long-hauler%E2%80%99-r2461/ [14] Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, Resources for patients, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-COVID19/patient-recovery/resources-for-patients/ [15] Health Awareness, Rehabilitation: making quality of life better for patients, 14 August 2019. https://www.healthawareness.co.uk/rehabilitation/rehabilitation-making-quality-of-life-better-for-patients/# [16] NHS England and NHS Improvement, NHS to launch ground breaking online COVID-19 rehab service, 5 July 2020. https://www.england.nhs.uk/2020/07/nhs-to-launch-ground-breaking-online-covid-19-rehab-service/ [17] CTV News, ‘Great medical mystery’ as COVID-19 ‘long-haulers’ complain of months-long symptoms, Last Updated 19 June 2020. https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/great-medical-mystery-as-COVID-19-long-haulers-complain-of-months-long-symptoms-1.4981669; Anonymous, ‘False negative’ and the impact on my mental health, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 22 May 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-COVID19/273_blogs/false-negative-and-the-impact-on-my-mental-health-r2297/ [18] Barbara Melville, Dismissed, unsupported and misdiagnosed: Interview with a COVID-19 ‘long-hauler’, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 24 June 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-COVID19/patient-recovery/resources-for-patients/dismissed-unsupported-and-misdiagnosed-interview-with-a-COVID-19-%E2%80%98long-hauler%E2%80%99-r2461/ [19] Financial Times, COVID-19 antibody test raise doubts over accuracy and utility, study finds, 26 June 2020. https://www.ft.com/content/dc4b97a9-d869-40bc-950a-60f9f383bed0; The Guardian, Doctors condemn secrecy over false negative COVID-19 tests, 25 May 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/25/doctors-condemn-secrecy-over-false-negative-COVID-19-tests [20] Patient Safety Learning, COVID-19 tests: The safety implications of false negatives, Patient Safety Learning’s the hub, 22 May 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-COVID19/273_blogs/COVID-19-tests-the-safety-implications-of-false-negatives-r2309/ [21] Psychology Today, Chronic Illness, Last Accessed 3 July 2020. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/chronic-illness [22] National Institute of Mental Health, Chronic Illness & Mental Health, Last Accessed 2 July 2020. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/chronic-illness-mental-health/index.shtml [23] Dr Jake Suett, My experience of suspected 'Long COVID', Patient Safety Learning's the hub, 6 July 2020. https://www.pslhub.org/learn/coronavirus-covid19/273_blogs/my-experience-of-suspected-long-covid-r2547/ [24] The Guardian, Thousands of cancer patients could die early due to coronavirus delays, study finds, 20 May 2020. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2020/may/20/thousands-of-cancer-patients-could-die-early-due-to-coronavirus-delays-study-finds [25] Daily Mail, How coronavirus can attack the brain: From exhaustion and depression to even DEMENTIA symptoms… the effects COVID-19 can have on one of our most vital organs, 16 June 2020. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-8424649/How-coronavirus-attack-brain.html [26] Sign up to Safety Patient Engagement in Patient Safety Group, Patient Engagement in Patient Safety: A Framework for the NHS, May 2016. https://www.england.nhs.uk/signuptosafety/wp-content/uploads/sites/16/2016/05/pe-ps-framwrk-apr-16.pdf [27] Public Health England, Disparities in the risk and outcomes of COVID-19, June 2020. https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/892085/disparities_review.pdf [28] Long-term impact of Infection with Novel Coronavirus, Study Information, Last Accessed 6 July 2020. https://www.liincstudy.org/en/study-information
  7. News Article
    A quarter of people who sought help for mental health problems during lockdown were unable to access NHS services, a new survey shows. A survey by the mental health charity Mind found that 25% of respondents who contacted primary care services could not get support. More than a fifth (22%) of adults with no previous experience of poor mental health now say that their mental health has deteriorated, according to the survey. Many people who were previously well will develop mental health problems as a “direct consequence of the pandemic and all that follows”, according to Mind. Two out of three (65%) adults aged 25 and over and three-quarters of young people aged 13-24 with an existing mental health problem reported worse mental health during the lockdown. Mind predicts that prolonged worsening of wellbeing and “continued inadequate access” to NHS mental health services will lead to a marked increase in people experiencing longer-term mental health problems. Read full story Source: The Independent, 30 June 2020
  8. News Article
    People who were seriously ill in hospital with coronavirus need to be urgently screened for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), leading doctors say. The Covid Trauma Response Working Group, led by University College London and involving experts from south-east England, said those who had been in intensive care were most at risk. The experts said regular check ups should last at least a year. More than 100,000 people have been treated in hospital for the virus. The experts say tens of thousands of these would have been seriously ill enough to be at risk of PTSD. The working group highlighted research which showed 30% of patients who had suffered severe illnesses in infectious disease outbreaks in the past had gone on to develop PTSD, while depression and anxiety problems were also common. Tracy is just one of many people who has been left with psychological scars from her coronavirus experience. She was admitted to Whittington Hospital in north London in March and spent more than three weeks there - one of which was in intensive care. "It was like being in hell. I saw people dying, people with the life being sucked from them. The staff all have masks on and all you saw was eyes - it was so lonely and frightening." Since being discharged in April the 59-year-old has been struggling to sleep because of the thought she will die and she has constantly suffered flashbacks. She is now receiving counselling. Read full story Source: BBC News, 29 June 2020
  9. News Article
    The COVID-19 pandemic could entrench and exacerbate inequalities in mental health for a generation unless action is taken, the Centre for Mental Health has warned. In a report published on Thursday, the charity warned that the lockdown would put greater pressure on groups whose mental health was already poor beforeCOVID-19 hit, such as women and children experiencing violence and abuse, and ethnic minority communities. The pandemic will leave an “unequal legacy of complicated bereavement, trauma, and economic repercussions which will push more people towards financial insecurity and poverty, significant risk factors for poor mental health,” the report said. “Unequal experiences of grief, loss, trauma, injustice, and abandonment all add to the psychological damage caused by COVID-19.” The report, backed by 12 mental health charities and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, said that the government must prioritise race equality and support “trauma informed” approaches for all people whose lives had been affected by COVID-19. Read full story Source: BMJ, 19 June 2020
  10. News Article
    Frontline staff and volunteers at the forefront of the national coronavirus response across England will be able to access a new Psychological First Aid (PFA) training course, the Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries has announced. The course, which has been developed by Public Health England, will be available to frontline workers and volunteers dealing with the public during the coronavirus pandemic. The free online course enables responders to develop their skills and confidence in providing key psychological support to people affected by coronavirus, including on issues such as job worries, bereavement or isolation as they carry out their vital work as part of the ongoing coronavirus response. It will also help to develop understanding of how emergencies like the coronavirus pandemic can affect us all, how to recognise people who may be at increased risk of distress, and how to offer practical and emotional support. Minister for Mental Health Nadine Dorries said: “Supporting each other’s mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever during these challenging and uncertain times. Staff and volunteers in many different roles are working tirelessly to provide crucial support at this time and are often a critical touchpoint in identifying those who may be affected. “This new training course will help to support the incredible work of frontline workers to support those most in need both through the coronavirus outbreak and beyond, equipping them with vital tools to deliver psychological first aid.” Read press release Source: GOV.UK, 15 June 2020
  11. News Article
    Ambulance services have been urged to look at how suspected overdose and poisoning cases are prioritised after paramedics took 45 minutes to reach a woman with known mental health problems. Helen Sheath, 33, had been discharged from a mental health unit in early July last year and was still waiting for an outpatient appointment with a psychological assessment and treatment service when she took a fatal dose of sodium nitrate on 20 August. Her father called an ambulance at 6.20pm when she had locked herself in a bathroom and was threatening to take the sodium nitrate. But Bedfordshire and Luton senior coroner Emma Whitting said her father could not tell whether or not she had taken it, and that in view of her history of suicidal ideation, the call should have been treated as a category two – with an 18 minutes response target – rather than a category three incident. The first ambulance which was sent to her was diverted on route and it was only after a second call to the East of England Ambulance Service at 6.48pm, that the call was upgraded to category two – when the call handler selected a different set of questions, after being told she had ingested the chemical. A rapid response vehicle arrived at 7.05pm and the mental health street triage team attended six minutes later. Shortly afterwards she became acutely unwell and was taken to Bedford Hospital, where she received treatment but died shortly afterwards. In a prevention of future deaths report Ms Whitting said: “If the first call had been coded as a category two, it seems likely that the rapid response vehicle, mental health street triage team (and even possibly the double staffed ambulance) would have arrived on scene much earlier (potentially just before or just after Helen had ingested the sodium nitrate) which could potentially have altered the outcome.” The case comes just months after two other ambulance trusts were criticised in cases involving suspected or threatened overdoses. The prevention of future deaths report was sent to the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives and the emergency call prioritisation advisory group, which is run by NHS England. Neither would comment other than saying they would respond to the coroner. Read full story Source: HSJ, 15 June 2020
  12. News Article
    Young people with learning disabilities are being driven to self-harm after being prevented from seeing their families during the coronavirus lockdown in breach of their human rights, a new report finds. The Joint Committee on Human Rights warned that the situation for children and young people in mental health hospitals had reached the point of “severe crisis” during the pandemic due to unlawful blanket bans on visits, the suspension of routine inspections and the increased use of restraint and solitary confinement. The report concluded that while young inpatients' human rights were already being breached before the pandemic, the coronavirus lockdown has put them at greater risk – and called on the NHS to instruct mental health hospitals to resume visits. It highlighted cases in which young people had been driven to self-harm, including Eddie, a young man with a learning disability whose mother, Adele Green, had not been able to visit him since 14 March. “When the lockdown came, it was quite quick in the sense that the hospital placed a blanket ban on anybody going in and anybody going out,” said Ms Green. “Within a week, with the fear and anxiety, he tried to take his own life, which really blew us away. We were mortified.” The Committee is urging NHS England to write to all hospitals, including private ones, stating they must allow visits unless there is a specific reason relating to an individual case why it would not be safe, and said the Care Quality Commission (CQC) should be responsible for ensuring national guidance is followed. Read full story Source: The Independent, 12 June 2020
  13. Content Article
    This briefing discusses the mental health effects of these financial inequalities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws evidence from the “Coronavirus: Mental Health in the Pandemic” research – a UK-wide, long-term study of how the pandemic is affecting people’s mental health. The study is led by the Mental Health Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, Swansea University, the University of Strathclyde and Queen’s University Belfast.
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