British panel opposes treatment of mentally ill at far off places

British panel opposes treatment of mentally ill at far off places

Fast-paced lifestyle, along with stress, violence and poverty, has led to the rise in diagnoses related to various mental illnesses, feel experts. According to a report in The Washington Post, the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted depression could jump from the fourth leading cause of death and disability to second place by 2020.

Proper care and support help bring positive result in the journey to recovery from mental problems. Moreover, identifying the problem and starting early treatment play a vital role in the recovery process. Keeping these points in mind, an independent commission led by former National Health Service (NHS) chief executive Lord Nigel Crisp came up with a set of recommendations aimed at bringing about fundamental reforms across the mental health system in England by October 2017. One of the commendations included doing away with the current practice of sending mentally ill patients to far off places for treatment.

A report by the commission said, “Out of area treatments cause problems for patients and for their families and carers. Geographical separation from a patient’s support networks can leave them feeling isolated and delay recovery. Moreover, mental health personnel from the patients’ home area have difficulties in visiting them with the result that they may well spend longer as inpatients than they would have done if admitted locally.”

Crisp’s guidelines

Pointing out to the problem of inadequacy or unavailability of inpatient beds or services across all areas in the country, the recommendations, supported by the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP), revealed the need for ending the differences in standards between physical and mental illnesses.

Stressing the practice of sending off mentally ill patients to distant places as “potentially dangerous,” Crisp said, “It is time to end the difference in standards between mental and physical illnesses. People with severe mental illnesses need to find care just as quickly as people suffering from physical illnesses – and they shouldn’t have to travel long distances to do so.”

Emphasizing on the lack of proper funding making it difficult to access acute care, the report added, “Access to acute care for severely ill adult mental health patients is inadequate nationally and, in some cases, potentially dangerous.”

Another important point raised by the commission was to limit the waiting time across adult psychiatric wards and undertaking for home-based treatment following evaluation and analysis not exceeding four hours by 2017.

The guidelines put forth by the commission condemned the fact that lack of proper beds makes it difficult for patients to avail treatment in their home areas and suggested that the problem must be phased out on a national level by October 2017.

Royal College of Psychiatrists president Professor Sir Simon Wessely said, “Everyone agrees that it is a scandal that patients with serious mental disorders who need admission can end up being sent anywhere from Cornwall to Cumbria in a search for a bed. And yet it continues.”

While showing concern about the practice of sending mentally ill patients to far off places for therapeutic purposes, Brian Dow, Director of External Affairs, Rethink Mental Illness, said, “If you have a physical health emergency you expect to be treated quickly, not sent miles from home. So why is this acceptable if you have a mental health emergency? Mental health remains a neglected service. The Government has promised to invest an £600 million during this Parliament which is incredibly welcome, but to put that into context, almost £600 million was cut from mental health services in the last Parliament, so essentially it’s filling up what was previously drained out.”

Accentuating the need to reduce out of area treatments that are not needed, U.K. Minister of State for Community and Social Care Alistair James Hendrie Burt said, “It’s crucial that people get the mental healthcare they need as quickly and as close to home as possible.”

Need for recovery

According to the State of Mental Health in America 2016 report by the Mental Health America (MHA), an estimated 42.5 million Americans experienced some form of mental health issue in 2015. If you or your loved one is grappling with mental illness, you may call the Sovereign Mental Health Services at our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 for further information. We take pride in taking innovative steps to help patients recover from various mental illness and addictions.

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