Nick Carding of the EDP reports exclusively:
Campaigners say their “worst fears have been confirmed” after it emerged that the number of unexpected deaths of mental health patients in the region is continuing to rise.
Figures published by the region’s mental health trust show more patients died unexpectedly in the first half of this financial year than during the whole of 2012/13.
In 2012/13 the trust reported 53 such deaths, but this figure rose to 105 in 2013/14. Last year there were 139 unexpected deaths and halfway into the 2015/16 financial year the number stands at 77.
A spokesman for Campaign to Save Mental Health Services in Norfolk and Suffolk called for “decently funded” and “professionally managed” mental health services in the two counties. “These figures confirm our worst fears,” the spokesman said. “Would an increase of this kind be tolerated in physical health?
“If the second half of this year is as bad as the first half, three times as many people will die in 2015/16 compared to 2012/13.”
Out-of-area bed days have fallen from 713 in May to 118 in October.
A former patient of the trust who was sent out-of-area for treatment this year said: “I found it isolating and frightening, and my condition deteriorated. The practice is unacceptable and counter-productive.”
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