AM highlights danger of lack of mental health facilities
3:20pm Wednesday 11th September 2013 in News
LACK of mental health inpatient facilities is putting pressure on police and A&E units, according to a local AM.
Elin Jones, Plaid Cymru AM for Ceredigion, has highlighted the danger of a lack of inpatient facilities as it emerged that some patients are ending up in police cells because the health service can’t cope.
Recently, Hywel Dda Health Board confirmed Afallon ward in Bronglais Hospital will not re-open, with the focus shifting to mental health care in the community. But there is widespread concern at whether the change will be properly resourced.
Last week it emerged that police face an increased burden of dealing with mental health problems, with some estimates indicating it takes up to 20% of police time.
Elin Jones said: “These statistics are a stark warning of what could happen if cuts in in-patient mental health care aren’t matched by investment in community services. We need accessible 24-hour care and inpatient facilities to deal with crises.
“It isn’t the police’s job to deal with problems caused by cuts in mental health services, and it’s totally unacceptable if mental health patients end up in police cells.
“But it’s also a concern if cases involving mental health crisis are adding to the burden on A&E in hospitals, which are already very hard-pressed. We’ve heard many fine words from the Health Board on the subject of mental health, but this needs to be backed up by action. Properly-resourced facilities have to be developed to deal with all kinds of mental health needs, whether by the Health Board itself, or in partnership with social services and third-sector agencies.”