Norman Lamb finds increase in mental health patient deaths

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Norman Lamb has obtained figures showing an increase in deaths among mental health patients over three years from 1412 to 1713, of these, suicides have risen from 595 to 751.

The Guardian quotes Norman Lamb:

Significant numbers of unexpected deaths at the Mid Staffs NHS trust caused an outcry and these figures should cause the same because they show a dramatic increase in the number of people losing their lives.

NHS England and the government should set up an investigation into the causes of this as these figures involve tragedies for families around the country and the human impact is intense.

Norman argues that underfunding of mental health relative to physical health amounts to discrimination, and that people are dying unnecessarily as a result. (Video here)

Also up, from 6074 to 8193, is the number of “serious incidents” which will include serious harm and abuse but are not consistently defined across trusts.

As a health minister, Norman introduced the first waiting time targets for mental health in an attempt to rebalance the scales with physical health, where such targets do determine priorities. His mission continues.

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  • Coupled with this recent research the question needs to be asked how many of the incidents are related to the DWP and/or JobCentre Plus:-

    J Epidemiol Community Health doi:10.1136/jech-2015-206209
    •Research report

    ‘First, do no harm’: are disability assessments associated with adverse trends in mental health? A longitudinal ecological study
    Open Access Press Release

  • Well done to Norman for bringing these truly depressing figures to light. We have to keep pushing the Government on this.

  • Why didn’t he do that when he was part of the government and in a position to do something about it ?

  • There will be more as Duncan Smith is about to attack those on ESA even more. Of course you had no qualms on this in 2010 so why crocodile tears now?

  • Unfair to criticise Norman saying he had no qualms in 2010 , he was Not a health minister till much later than that , a couple of years or so later ! He s a terrific man , lets say so consistently .I think we must go for the Tories and DWP as mentioned , with vigour , on this remembering as we do it was Labour that introduced the eventually shameful work capability test , even UKIP oppose it !

  • Heather fairfield 30th May '16 - 10:01am

    These figures raise serious concerns. Efforts to understand should be pursued at a local as well as a national level and perhaps this will give some traction to the issue of mental health deaths. Campaigners should hold their Health and Wellbeing boards to account. A league table should be published.

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