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- Are we a police station or a psychiatric hospital?
Almost every working day over the last few weeks I’ve arrived in work at Hellesdon Hospital to be greeted by at least one police car in our car park. We have had an endless stream of people detained under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act. For those who dont know this is when the police find someone in a public place who they believe to be mentally ill and in need of care and attention, and can then under Section 136 bring them to a place of safety to be assessed and if necessary arrangements made for admission to hospital.. Currently the police stay with the patient in thePlace of Safety Suite. Over the last few weeks they have been staying a very long toime due to the bed crisis. Other patients have had to be kept overnight in police cells because of the delays in finding a bed. Last night two patients spent all night in custody and most of today while bed management trawled the country searching for beds. When I left work this evening there were still two patients being guarded by the police while beds are searched for. There are currently 16 patients scattered across the country, Yet still one of our CCGs, in the face of massive public opposition casuaaly delete another 22 beds from Norfolk and Suffolk’s establishment. Rumours abuond of another ward closure at Hellesdon Hospital, At what point will we see a Trust wide strategic plan for inpatient services based on clinical demand rather than on financial expediency. To use a cliche it sometimes feels like plans are being made on the back of a fag packet. The worst aspect of Healtheast’s decision to lose 12 dementia beds from Larkspur Ward at Carlton Court was that they tried to present it as being based on a model of best practice! Best practice is a local ward operating at 85% capacity, not short-staffed wards operating at 105%, nor unknown wards over the other side of the country.
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