Mental health patients are not getting the care they need on the NHS due to a lack of beds, according to a survey by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
Instead, doctors seem to be sectioning patients under the Mental Health Act in order to ensure they are getting treatment.
The Mental Health Act gives permission to detain a mental health patient, or section them, if they are a danger to themselves or others. However, 18% of junior doctors questioned in the survey said that their decision on whether to section a patient was influenced by the knowledge that they would be at a risk of not receiving treatment if they weren’t.
Furthermore, 37% of the 576 trainee doctors claimed that they knew colleagues who had made a similarly influenced decision.
On the other hand, 30% admitted that they had had to send critically ill patients home as their simply wasn’t room for them.
One unnamed psychiatrist told BBC News that a patient had died purely as a result of not having an available bed. “The patient presented to us, they needed to be admitted, we couldn’t admit them locally, they were admitted to a hospital hundreds of miles away. The care they received there was not what we’d have done and they died.”
Dr Howard Ryland, who oversees training at the Royal college of Psychiatrists, was similarly reported saying that “the NHS doesn’t have the resources to cope with the ever increasing demand. The system doesn’t have the services to provide everyone with the care they need.”
The people suffering with mental health illnesses and their families are the ones who are being let down. Unfortunately, not enough emphasis of those suffering with chronic depression and anxiety is being put on the NHS.