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Posted on 7th February 2017

Mental health-related deaths double

The amount of unexpected deaths linked to mental health trust has doubled in three years.

The new figures, from a freedom of information request by BBC’s Panorama found that in 2012-2013 there were 2,067 unexpected deaths, by 2015-16 the figure had risen to 3,160. 

Unexpected deaths include suicide, neglect and misadventure.

The Department of Health have questioned the figures and said that there was a change in the way the deaths are recorded and investigated and the rise was “expected”.

Anita Charlesworth, from the Health Foundation, told the BBC: “The NHS has not set out to cut mental health services but as they’ve got rising patient demand elsewhere, they’ve had to look for cuts to make up that budget shortfall and often it is mental health services that have borne the brunt of those.”

Marjorie Wallace, from the mental health charity Sane, told the programme: “We are particularly concerned because these are the most vulnerable people that we have entrusted into the care of mental health services and they are so often being failed — both them and their families.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “This increase in the number of deaths is to be expected because the NHS is very deliberately improving the way such events are recorded and investigated following past failings.

“From April all NHS trusts will be required to publish both numbers of avoidable deaths and how they are improving care.

“We also dispute the funding figures used in this programme.”

The programme, aired on BBC one, said analysis from the Health Foundation think tank claims mental health partnerships have had funding cuts of up to £150 million over the past four years.

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