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Mental health beds shortage has knock-on effect on patients waiting for surgery, says RCS Vice President

06 Nov 2019

A new report published this week, commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, highlighted the need for more beds in mental health hospitals as vulnerable patients are being sent far away from home for treatment. The report found that efforts to stop the practice, known as inappropriate out-of-area placements (OAPs), have stalled. 

Responding to the report, Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Neil Mortenson said:

“This research showing acutely ill mental health patients being shunted round the country is just the latest evidence of an NHS beds crisis.

“With mental health patients plonked into unsuitable general wards, there is a knock-on effect on those waiting for operations too. Both sets of patients lose out. Across the service, operations are being cancelled because of a shortage of beds and a shortage of staff, with some being rebooked up to ten times in a row.

“A five year plan to reduce soaring waiting lists is needed, incorporating the provision of thousands of extra beds, an ethical approach to recruitment from overseas, and urgent alterations to the NHS pension scheme, so that no member of NHS staff pays to go to work.”

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