Mental health detentions top 50,000
Wednesday 30th October 2013, 2:01PM GMT.
The number of mental health detentions in NHS hospitals topped 50,000 last year, according to new figures.
This was a 4% rise on the previous year, taking the number from 48,600 to 50,400.
Detentions under the Mental Health Act in independent sector hospitals also experienced a rise, from 3,600 to 4,300, a jump of 17%.
Today’s report for England, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), also looked at other types of mental health orders in 2012/13.
Police stations were used for one in three place of safety orders, which involve removing a mentally ill person from a public place to a place of safety.
Police stations were the place of safety for an estimated 7,800 of the total 22,100 orders made.
These figures represented a drop of around 10% on the previous year.
Of the remaining place of safety orders, people were taken to hospitals in 14,100 instances, representing a 6% drop on the previous year (14,900 orders).
Just over 5,200 people were subject to a community treatment order, a 10% rise on the previous year (4,800).
As of March 31, just under 17,000 people were detained in hospital under the Mental Health Act – a 3% drop compared with the same date in the previous year (17,500).
Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said: “People who are vulnerable must be treated with dignity and respect in the right environment.
“We are working with the Home Office and NHS to ensure that people in mental health crisis receive the care they need as soon as possible and we are drawing up clear guidelines on the provision of mental health crisis care in all local areas.
“The decision to detain someone under the Mental Health Act is a clinically-led one which is made by doctors and approved mental health professionals at a local level.”
A report in June found that too many people with mental health problems were being held in police cells.
Guidance on place of safety orders says the safe place should in all but ”exceptional” circumstances be a hospital or health location.
But the report, by HM Inspectorates of Constabulary and Prisons, the Care Quality Commission and the Healthcare Inspectorate Wales, said high numbers were held in cells which is ”clearly not an exceptional use of the power”.
Some of the most common reasons given for holding people in police custody were insufficient staff and the absence of available beds at a health-based place of safety.
Speaking on behalf of all inspectors, Her Majesty’s Inspector of Constabulary Drusilla Sharpling said: ”This report finds that too many people are being detained in police custody under Section 136.
”Their only ‘crime’ is that they have mental disorders, but they are treated in many ways as if they are criminals. This deplorable situation cannot be allowed to continue.”
In the vast majority – 81% – of the 70 cases examined as part of the inspection, the reason for detention was that the person had either attempted suicide or self-harm, or indicated that they were thinking of doing so.