I attended the Board Meeting of the Royal Hospital Trust again today. This is the third Board meeting I have attended since I was elected to the Observer position at the City Council AGM.
As usual there is a full agenda, what I will be doing is picking out some of the items from there agenda.
One of the most jarring points heard today at the Board was the story of a patient who was waiting for 12.30 hours for a bed at New Cross. Because the patient had mental health issues, the wait for a bed stretched for over 12 hours.
I was astounded by that and raised the issue at the end of the meeting as you are allowed. I found the issue even more upsetting when the CEO informed the board that there was just not enough beds in the united kingdom for mental health patients. I found that information very unnerving. The CEO also in answering the question said that some patients had been found beds eventually as far away as Welwyn Garden City! Imagine if your close family or friend had been treated in this way. That you had to give support to your family member in a place as far away as Welwyn Garden City?
Now I am astounded at that. I am very concerned and I hope that the City Council will be also, to know that Wolverhampton mentally ill residents have such poor cover.
The City and the RWT must surely be protesting this poor cover. The CEO said that there was no Central Co-ordinating system to help hospitals source beds. Surely Wolverhampton City Council and the Local Government Association together should be arguing this course of action with the hospital trusts, and the Department for Health?
Imagine my surprise just a few moments ago to hear on the evening news this lead story. As told by ITN news channel.
Research undertaken by leading children’s mental health charity YoungMinds, and given exclusively to ITV News, has revealed that since George Osborne became chancellor five years ago a total of £85m has been lost from the budgets of mental health trusts and local authorities.
And while NHS spending as a whole has been ring fenced, three quarters of mental health trusts said they had to freeze or cut their budgets between 2013/14 and 2014/15.
The charity sent Freedom of Information requests to 165 clinical commissioning groups, 97 local authorities and 37 mental health trusts – all of whom are responsible for providing mental health care in England.
The charity’s chief executive, Sarah Brennan, told ITV News the results had painted a “disturbing picture of disinvestment” at a local level.
This disinvestment has to stop. For children, young people, parents and professionals it is tremendously frustrating that for all the action at a national level, on the ground, where help is delivered, services are under enormous pressure.– Sarah Brennan, YoungMinds
They estimate that over the last parliament, funding for all mental health services dropped, in real terms, by nearly £600 million. That’s around eight per cent – despite a coalition pledge to put mental health conditions on a par with physical illness.
Back in March, the coalition government promised to increase funding for mental health services for children and new mothers by £1.25 billion over the next five years.
Charities like YoungMinds are now watching and waiting to see if that pledge will still be delivered by the Conservatives. There is no doubt the money is needed.
Grace Jeremy, who became dangerously underweight with anorexia at 17, was left to lose another stone before the NHS could give her the help she needed.
She told ITV News the sweeping budget cuts amounted to a “death sentence” for vulnerable people.
Councillor Phil Bateman added…”so the government puts the onus back on Local Organisations. In the meantime it appears that a shortage of mental health beds is bad news for those suffering in this city. The question is What are we going to do about it.”