Fewer beds for mental health patients in E. Anglia

22 October 2018, 09:35 | Updated: 22 October 2018, 09:37

mental health

Research by the TUC shows mental health services in Norfolk and Suffolk are failing to keep up with demand.

The number of beds available has fallen by at least a quarter in the last five years - despite more people needing them.

In Norfolk and Waveney, there are 30 percent fewer beds, 13 percent fewer doctors and 20 percent fewer nurses. Demand for mental health services has increased by 72 percent in the same period.

In Suffolk and North East Essex, there are 25 percent fewer beds and 10 percent fewer doctors. Although there's been a 32 percent increase in the number of mental health nurses and demand has only increased by 16 percent.

The TUC says the unprecedented squeeze on health service funding and health workers’ pay are key reasons behind the fall in capacity. 

NHS mental health trusts have seen their income cut by more than a £100 million in real-terms since 2012. 

And the clampdown on pay in the NHS has hit staffing levels, with more than one in 10 mental health posts currently vacant.

Unions want the Chancellor to use this month’s budget to increase health spending.

TUC Regional Secretary Sam Gurney said: “The Prime Minister promised to tackle the ‘burning injustice’ of inadequate treatment for mental illness. But years of underfunding has created a staffing crisis in mental health services and a huge shortage of beds.

“The East of England has suffered the sharpest fall in mental health provision of any region.

“This month’s Budget must provide urgent funding for the NHS, schools and councils. They need more resources to help people struggling with their mental health.”