Today I was introduced to a new phrase – ‘September Surge’. Apparently this term refers to the remarkable increase in workload of Mental Health services in the month of September. I don’t know why that is? I suppose my son would have been part of this surge last year.
The Panorama programme on BBC last evening reported the state of crisis in Mental Health services in the UK. Over the last 3-5 years as many as 3000 inpatient beds have been closed down while the demand has been steadily on the rise. Often there are ‘no beds’ even for emergency admissions. As a desperate measure the least unwell patients have to be discharged from the wards even when they are not quite ready. Or else, some patients are referred to the Private sector, which is also getting saturated.
Staff members dealing with this shortfall in resources seem really concerned for their patients. Their heart is very much in the right place and one can see the frustration this daily fire fighting causes them. The impact of working under so much pressure everyday must put a huge strain on their sense of wellbeing as well. The wide gap between how things should be and how they are must make them feel highly inadequate and demotivated for no fault of their own.
What is the long-term view on funding the mental health services? Is there one?
Last week we got a new ‘robot’ for our operating theatres. It costs only 2 million pounds. But that is for cancer surgery, of course.
Within the last one year I personally know of at least 2 young men who have died while waiting for their first appointment with a psychiatrist.
How can there be such disparity between services? How can we tolerate it?