Mind Criticises NHS Follow-Up Work with Mental Health Patients

Approximately 10% of people leaving hospital following mental health care treatment are not receiving any visitations or follow-up phone calls in the seven days after leaving.

These worrying figures have been compiled by the mental health charity Mind, based on Freedom of Information requests.

Around 11,000 people annually receive no NHS check-ups after leaving hospitals or specialist facilities within the healthcare system, and experts believe that this puts them at a greater risk of suicide.

Sophie Corlett, director of external relations at Mind, condemned the inability of the healthcare system to react satisfactorily to this critical area of care.

“Thousands of people with mental health problems in England and Wales are not getting the appropriate follow-up when they are first discharged from hospital. This is not good enough. It is a tragedy that so many people so very recently leaving the care of hospital are losing their lives.”

Nice guidelines indicate that all patients should be contacted within seven days.

While certain cases should also receive immediate follow-up within 48 hours, Mind believes that this provision should be extended to all mental health patients.

The figures are further indication of the pressure currently being heaped on the healthcare system.

Previous research conducted by Mind indicated that those who were not followed-up were more than double as likely to attempt suicide, and around 35% more likely to engage in self-harm.

Recent evidence from the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide indicates that of all patients who died in the first week after discharge, the highest number occurred on the third day.

This is why Mind believes it is vital to contact all mental health patients within 48 hours, and effectively reduce the chances of suicide.

Dr Paul Brown of the Royal College of Psychiatrists cited the physical evidence and data that is already well known in proffering his opinion.

“We know that a person who is released from hospital after a mental health crisis is most vulnerable in the days directly following discharge. These figures paint an alarming picture of a system under intense and increased pressure. It is absolutely vital that we see money promised by the Government going to the frontline.”

In 2013-14 over 1.7 million adults accessed NHS services for severe or enduring mental health problems.

And 947,640 people were referred into Improving Access to Psychological Therapies over the same period for services for common mental health problems such as depression and anxiety disorders.

 

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