Mental health commission warns that access to acute care is inadequate and potentially dangerous

Chief executive of the Mental Health Network hopes Crisp Commission report will lead to funding boost



A report recommending four-hour wait targets for adults to be admitted to an acute psychiatric ward and an end to patients travelling long distances for treatment has been welcomed by a senior mental health nurse.

The findings from the Crisp Commission recommend a swathe of reforms to England’s mental health system be made between now and October next year.

The commission, created in January last year and chaired by former NHS chief executive Lord Nigel Crisp, found access to acute care for patients with severe mental illness was inadequate and potentially dangerous.

Part of the study was based on findings from the Health and Social Care Information Centre which revealed more than 2,000 patients regularly had to travel further than 50km for treatment.

It also exposed delayed discharges, unsuitable living conditions and inappropriate services which it said were the reason behind excessive shortages of mental health beds.

In response, nurse and chief executive of the Mental Health Network Stephen Dalton argued the government’s pledges to prioritise mental health did not match the reality of ‘shrinking funding’ and ‘hard-working staff struggling to cope with growing public need’.

He added: ‘The evidence presented by this useful report is clear that the postcode lottery of investment in mental health services in England is putting vulnerable people, including children, at risk.

'The report rightly says this is not just about beds but is about understanding why people are admitted and why it can be difficult to discharge some people.

‘In recent years investment in mental health services has been falling. It is now urgent that this trend is halted and that we see NHS England get investment directly to the front line of provision.’

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