Patients Held on Secure Wards for too Long
Concerns have been raised over the length of time mental health patients are spending on secure wards
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said that it is unacceptable for NHS and for-profit mental health providers to force such a large number of patients to endure “outdated and sometimes institutionalised care”.
The CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals expressed his concern. “We are particularly concerned about the high number of people in ‘locked rehabilitation wards’. These wards are often situated a long way from the patient’s home, meaning people are isolated from their friends and families. In the 21st century, a hospital should never be considered ‘home’ for people with a mental health condition.”
Over 3,500 patients in 248 mental health wards are being kept locked-in. The care regulator found that in 2015-16, some had stayed for 45 days, however others had been in there for up to four and a half years. Consultant psychiatrist and medical director of an NHS mental health trust, Dr Mike Hunter, said that stays in such wards should be “a step on the road back to a more independent life in the person’s home community”, and “not a long-term treatment option”.
It was found that two-thirds of the 3,500 beds belong to the private sector, as opposed to the NHS trusts, despite them treating fewer people with mental illness than the NHS.