October 15, 2008

Expert comment – Inpatient psychiatric care

Writing about web page http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/full/337/oct09_2/a1837

Warwick Medical School Professor of Psychiatry Scott Weich argues that inpatient NHS psychiatric care is expensive, unpopular and often unsatisfactory.

In an editorial for the British Medical Journal this month, Professor Weich said a recent national review of inpatient services by the Healthcare Commission rated 59% of trusts as fair or weak.

He said: “Where things are bad, they are very bad, and these are the places where the needs of the most excluded, vulnerable and disaffected (including those from black and minority communities) are least adequately met.”

Professor Weich stated that the number of psychiatric beds had fallen by 31% between 1996 and 2006.

He added: “That service users welcome further reductions in bed numbers speaks volumes, not only for the reprehensible state of many inpatient units, but also for users’ confidence in community services.”

To contact Professor Weich, call Kelly Parkes-Harrison, Communications Officer, 02476 150483, 07824 540863

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