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Self-harm and suicide attempts soar in Leicestershire

Matthew O'CallaghanLabour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Loughborough, Matthew O’Callaghan, has spoken out on shocking figures which reveal more patients are self-harming and attempting suicide in Leicestershire hospitals. 

Data obtained under Freedom of Information by Labour’s Luciana Berger, Shadow Minister for Public Health, show the number of suicide attempts and self-harm incidents in mental health hospitals increased by over 50 per cent between 2010 and 2013.

A rise of 30% was recorded in hospitals run by the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust from 2010 to 2013, with the number of attempts increasing year on year. The trust recorded 180 suicide attempts and self-harm incidents in 2010; there were 196 instances in 2011, 208 in 2012 and 234 in 2013.  

Mr O’Callaghan’s intervention comes as experts warn that acute mental health services are in crisis and struggling to cope with demand. Although the Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends occupancy levels of 85%, figures show that mental health wards are operating over capacity, with some running at up to 138%, and the shortage of beds has forced some mental health patients to travel hundreds of miles for treatment. Figures from the BBC  show that minimum of 1,711 mental health beds were closed between April 2011 and August 2013.

A recent investigation by Health Service Journal (HSJ) revealed that there are 3,640 fewer nurses and 213 fewer doctors working in mental health in April this year compared to staffing levels two years ago. Mental health spending has been cut for the first time in a decade. The same investigation showed that the NHS's mental health trusts have lost over £250 million of their funding in the same period.

 

Number of self-harm and suicide attempts across 29 Mental Health Trusts:

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

Total

14815

16711

17946

23053

Average

511

576

619

795

 

Number of self-harm and suicide attempts in hospitals run by the Leicestershire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust:

 

2010

2011

2012

2013

Total

180

196

208

234

 

Mr O’Callaghan said: “News that self-harm and suicide attempts are on the rise on Leicestershire NHS wards is deeply concerning.

“Mental health services have been squeezed year on year, the number of specialist doctors and nurses has dropped and there aren't enough beds to meet demand. The pressure this is putting on mental health wards is intolerable.”

Luciana Berger, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Public Health, said: “It’s unacceptable that people in touch with mental health services may not be getting the support they need. These are some of the most vulnerable patients in our NHS. Ministers must now take urgent action to tackle this crisis.”

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