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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

Rapid Response:

Re: MPs call for investigation into how psychiatric patients are being detained

This doesn't surprise me in the slightest. It is an open secret amongst general adult psychiatrists that there is a national bed crisis. On two occasions in the last six months I have been told by our bed manager "there are no acute beds in the whole COUNTRY".

In these circumstances it is very difficult to get an out of area bed for an informal patient. Most Psychiatric Intensive Care Units already seem to have adopted a policy of only accepting detained patients, and it looks like some general wards are now following suit.

It is not right to section someone just to get them a bed, but is it right to leave an unwell patient in the community for lack of a local bed?

One thing is certain - we have lost too many psychiatric beds and the system is under enormouse strain. The DoH needs to look at this urgently before it breaks altogether.

Competing interests: No competing interests

27 August 2013
Conor J Davidson
Consultant Psychiatrist
Leeds & York Partnership Foundation Trust
Bootham Park Hospital, York, YO30 7BY