The NHS is to start investigating the deaths of more than 100,000 mental health patients a year in a drive to cut the number of fatalities that are linked to poor care of those with mental health issues.
There are 54 specialist mental health trusts in England and they have been told to look into every death.
About 2,500 patients die each year at each trust. The lack of poor care was highlighted by the case of Connor Sparrowhawk. He was an 18 year old with epilepsy and autism. He drowned in a bath in Southern Health Trust’s Slade House facility in 2013. His doctor had made 39 different error.
It transpired that the Trust had not examined the deaths of about 1,000 patients with autism or learning difficulties.
HM Inspector of Constabulary Zoe Billingham
And it is not only the NHS which is affected by what is now becoming clear – we are in the middle of a national mental health crisis.
As Zoe Billingham says, “We cannot expect the police to pick up the pieces of a broken mental health system. Over-stretched and all too often overwhelmed police officers can’t always respond appropriately, and people in mental health crisis don’t always get the help they need. It is a national crisis which should not be allowed to continue.”
Police are using up an average of three hours per mental health incident – for example, ferrying people to hospital or waiting in accident and emergency for them to get help.
A Government spokesman said, “We are investing £2billion in mental health services, including in A & E departments, and community crisis services.”