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Herefordshire mental health charity "recognises" bed shortage
A HEREFORDSHIRE mental health charity says it “recognises” the shortage of beds for mental health patients in crisis.
It was revealed last week that more than 1,500 mental health beds have closed in recent years.
The discovery came after Freedom of Information requests were sent to 53 of England's 58 mental health trusts, by BBC News and Community Care.
The figures show that 1,711 mental health beds have been closed since April 2011, including 277 between April and August 2013.
This represents a nine per cent reduction in the total number of mental health beds available in 2011 and 2012.
Richard Kelly, executive director for Herefordshire Mind, said: “Our Outreach staff are seeing an increase in crisis amongst people who lost their support over the last 18 months as a result of cuts to preventative services that enabled people to maintain independence and successfully live in the community.
“However we need to also be clear that residential care places are a last resort in many cases and that it is better for many people to stay in their own homes and receive intensive support to enable this to happen. It is about getting the balance right and this is always difficult.
“Herefordshire Mind is working with the NHS in Herefordshire and with 2Gether Mental health Trust to improve this balance and to increase capacity in the system from 2014 including the opening of a new Mind care home that provides additional residential places for people who need them.”
Mark Hemming, Herefordshire locality director for 2gether NHS Foundation Trust, said that the trust believes it has the appropriate number of beds for local communities.
“We are also fortunate in that we can access beds within the wider trust should we need them. This includes, for example, specialist services in Gloucestershire,” he added.
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