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MPs call for investigation into how psychiatric patients are being detained

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5135 (Published 15 August 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5135
  1. Mark Gould
  1. 1London

Psychiatrists facing a desperate shortage of beds are sectioning patients so that they can get hospital care, say MPs who are calling for urgent government reviews of mental health services.

In its report on the effects of the 2007 Mental Health Act, the House of Commons Health Committee heard evidence that many psychiatric wards are still desperately short of beds, with some 15% operating at over 100% occupancy.

The committee concluded, “It is now acknowledged that there appears to be an inverse relationship between the number of available beds and rates of detention.”

Stephen Dorrell, the committee’s chairman, and a former health secretary, said that patients’ basic rights were being “violated.” He called for a government investigation into whether voluntary patients were being sectioned to get a bed, adding, “It is never acceptable for patients …

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