TENS OF THOUSANDS of mental health patients in England have had to wait for over a week for a follow-up after being discharged from hospital, charity Mind revealed yesterday, dramatically increasing their risk of suicide.
One in 10 — or at least 11,000 — people cared for by 54 out of 56 NHS trusts had to wait more than seven days for an appointment or phone call in 2015-2016.
A Mind survey of 850 patients found that those not checked on within a week, if at all, were more than twice as likely to attempt suicide than those who were.
Official guidelines say people deemed to be at risk of suicide should be contacted within 48 hours — most people commit suicide within three days after leaving hospital.
In one case, a woman called Imani was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and complex post-traumatic stress disorder. She voluntarily admitted herself to hospital three times for suicidal thoughts.
She said: “I don’t remember being in contact with the hospital once I’d come out — no phone call, no visit — and I needed to see someone.”
Shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley said that it showed the gap between Tory “rhetoric and reality.”