The number of Mental Health Act detentions is up by 12%
- 29 Jan
The NHS regulator has found that the number of people in England being detained under the Mental Health Act has increased by 12% over the past five years.
Over the past year the act was used 50,000 to detain patients in hospital. This is the highest ever record.
The Care Quality Commission has also criticised the use of blanket bans on activities such as using the Internet or mobile phone and access to outdoor space. Inspectors found one or more such rule in place in three-quarters of wards, reports the BBC.
The report has said that this "widespread use" was unacceptable whilst criticising the practise of putting patients in police custody when there were facilities available when crises developed, which was seen in some places.
Other problems were seen in inadequate staffing levels and poor access to GP care.
Campaigners have said the problems that have been identified show that insufficient support is available within the community to help care for patients.
Chief executive of the charity Mind, Paul Farmer, has said that NHS bosses need to "urgently" look into the situation. "There are obvious pressures on the system, which are having a significant impact on the care of people who are at their most unwell," he said. "Increasing bed shortages and staffing difficulties resulting from cuts to mental health services over two consecutive years mean people aren't getting the help they need. We are concerned at the evident lack of therapeutic activities available on some wards - it is essential that services focus on recovery rather than simply containing people who are in crisis."
The CQC have acknowledged that this is a "nationally recognised problem". Chief executive David Behan have said the problems identified were concerning however he also said that examples of good practise were found that others could learn from.
"We have seen great advances in treatment and care for people with mental health needs in recent years," he said. "We have also met staff committed to reducing the restrictions placed on patients as far as possible."
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