The British Medical Association (BMA) has published its report ‘State of the health system – Beds in the NHS’. And it emphasises the dire state our health system is in. As one graph shows, the number of NHS hospital beds in England is at a historic low. And beds for mental health patients are particularly scarce.
The NHS in England now has the lowest number of beds since records began.
— Dr Lauren Gavaghan (@DancingTheMind) December 4, 2017
‘Cracks within the NHS’
The BMA’s paper provides evidence of “cracks within the NHS” and the “increasing pressures on the system in each nation”. In England:
Between quarter two of 2010/11 and quarter two 2016/17, the number of overnight beds fell by 14,000. Over the same period, the number of mental health beds fell by a fifth.
In September 2017, at least 760 patients were receiving inpatient mental health treatment away from their local area.
In Scotland, patients with mental illness have also been considerably affected. The paper underscores a 33% decrease in the number of mental health beds since 2007.
Still no parity of esteem
On 1 March, Theresa May claimed:
It is this Conservative government that has introduced parity of esteem in relation to dealing with mental health in the National Health Service.
Parity of esteem means ensuring that mental health is on an equal footing with physical health. But as much as the prime minister may boast about looking out for people’s well-being, the BMA paper suggests otherwise. If anything, government policies have been counterproductive. For example, the factors that lead to poor mental health among children – such as poverty – have increased significantly since the Tories came to power in 2010.
The government isn’t simply failing to address the root causes of poor mental health or issues with mental health services. We can see all the time how the Conservatives’ commitment to austerity is making matters worse. The BMA paper is the latest piece of evidence to back this up.
– Read more articles from The Canary on the NHS.
– Join us, so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via Flickr
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?