Nic Rigby of the BBC reports:
Patients having to wait up to 22 hours in mental health assessment suites in Norfolk and Suffolk is “unacceptable”, leading experts have said.
A BBC Freedom of Information request found that between January and July, seven patients had to wait more than 15 hours and three more than 20.
The BBC found that one patient at Hellesdon Hospital’s suite in Norfolk had to stay there for 22 hours and 30 minutes in January, while in the same month another had to wait 20 hours and 10 minutes at the suite at The Woodlands in Ipswich, Suffolk.
Dr Mary Jane Tacchi, special advisor on crisis teams for the Royal College of Psychiatry, said a 22 hours 30 minute stay at a assessment suite was “not acceptable”.
Dr Tacchi, who also also undertakes assessments, said: “We want it to be two to three hours in the way way you wouldn’t wait that length of time to be assessed in accident and emergency.”
Geoff Heyes, of mental health charity Mind, said: “Mind would like to see anyone needing assessing under the Act to be seen urgently, within four hours, to ensure that the person gets the help and support they need as quickly as possible.”
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk Jenny McKibben added: “We can’t afford to have officers, often two officers, waiting for people to be detained. That length of stay [22.5 hours] is totally unacceptable.”
So, what are NSFT and the CCGs planning to do? They are looking to close the Section 136 facilities in Lowestoft, Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn. Will the additional time taken to transport people in crisis across Norfolk and Suffolk to Norwich be included in the waiting time statistics?
Staff in control rooms make no difference if there are insufficient staff and beds. Norman Lamb’s Cashless Concordat isn’t worth the paper it is written on.
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