NHS shortfalls affected dozens of mental health patients who later died

Full story in The Guardian, 6 March 2018

A lack of beds, staff and specialist services affected the care of dozens of mental health patients who later died, the Guardian can reveal. Coroners have identified 45 cases in England and Wales in the last six years in which a patient’s NHS treatment for mental health problems was affected by the issues.

Some of the deaths occurred due to the NHS not being able to either care for the person in a bed in their home area or provide the type of care that they needed. Treatment for eating disorders and for maternal mental ill-health were two of the affected services.

The 45 cases represent one in six (16.6%) of the 271 deaths of mental health patients which, the Guardian disclosed on Monday, have prompted coroners to issue legal warnings to NHS bodies – in the form of prevention of future deaths notices (PFDNs) – after hearing evidence that failings in care preceded a person’s death.