General Article ‘The beds crisis makes me embarrassed to work in mental health’: a social worker’s story

Topic Selected: Mental Health
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An extract from a letter sent to Community Care by a frontline social worker and approved mental health professional.


By an anonymous social worker


We always have high bed occupancy on our acute admissions units to the extent that we have over 40 people in out-of-area beds, some as far away as 175 miles from home. We recently had a psychiatric unit closed and now our trust is spending millions on out-of-area beds.

The impact this has on patients and families is devastating. Service users and families often find journeys of a few miles to one of our remaining NHS units difficult. Imagine what it’s like when we ask them to travel to out-of-area beds close to 200 miles away?

One family member reported having a 15-hour round trip to go and visit someone. This means that people are not being visited by families and friends when they need it.

In my experience, right now people have absolutely no chance of an informal admission to hospital (as opposed to a compulsory admission under th...

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