Introduction to ‘Patient forced to sleep in lounge’ by James Gillespie:
A MENTAL health patient who was admitted to hospital last week had to sleep in a lounge after staff could not find a bed within 180 miles.
Staff at the Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) refer to such cases as “admission to a sofa” where patients are kept in the lounge area next to a ward and some have to sleep on a couch.
Norman Lamb, the minister for care and support who is responsible for mental health provision, described the incident as “intolerable”.
It highlights the growing problem of accommodating acute mental health patients after years of widespread bed closures.
This weekend staff at the same trust, which runs acute units in Norwich, Ipswich, Great Yarmouth, Bury St Edmunds and King’s Lynn, reported that a 14-year-old needed a psychiatric bed but there was none available for a child in the entire country.”
Read the full story in tomorrow’s The Sunday Times.