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Letter: Coroner’s Comments Are a Sad Indictment of Our Mental Health Services

Published on: 5 Apr, 2024
Updated on: 5 Apr, 2024

From: Anthony Mallard

In response to: Psychiatric Bed Shortages in Surrey

This is yet another tragic and unnecessary death from underfunding and under-resourcing of mental ill health Services.

The most damning statements of the coroner were: “Jonathan’s mental health continued to deteriorate and on June 24 the MHT [mental health team] decided that he required an assessment under the Mental Health Act.”

And: “Mr Harris would not have died had an inpatient psychiatric hospital bed been available on either 24, 25 or 26 June 2022. No inpatient bed was available and therefore the assessment did not take place. If Jonathan had been assessed, he would have been detained under the Mental Health Act and admitted to hospital.”

This is a sad indictment of the Government’s provision of mental health care locally and nationally.

Put in the context of health services generally, would it be acceptable to leave a patient suffering a collapse in the street or on a pavement because there are insufficient acute beds in the nearby hospitals? Of course not, so why is it seemingly okay to leave a patient at risk in the event of a mental health crisis?

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