‘Outrageous’ long A&E waits for mental health patients increase 150pc

Research by the HSJ, has found that mental health patients who arrive at emergency departments in crisis are increasingly facing ‘outrageous’ long waits for an inpatient bed, with some being forced to wait several days. The research suggests ED waits of more than 12 hours have ballooned in 2022, and are now around two-and-a-half times as high as pre-covid levels.

Early intervention for patients in mental health crisis is deemed to be crucial in their care and recovery.

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine said the findings are a “massive concern”, while the Royal College of Psychiatrists described them as “unacceptable”.

NHS England pointed to record numbers of people seeking mental health support, amid intense pressures on EDs from all patients. It said efforts are being made to invest in crisis support teams.

Full story in the HSJ, 19 July 2022