Statement on Health Select Committee's Suicide Prevention Report

Statement / comment
16 March 2017
'The Health Select Committee is right to raise the central importance of workforce to reduce suicide in England. A shortage of liaison psychiatrists, who work in A&E at the point of mental health, is a huge barrier to rolling out liaison services in every acute hospital in England. Liaison psychiatry is effective and mental health staff save lives. We echo calls that the Government must ensure there are enough well-trained staff to establish and sustain liaison psychiatry services.

We are disappointed the Government has not accepted the Committee’s recommendation that all patients discharged from inpatient units are contacted within three days. We know that there is a high risk of suicide in these critical three days because, after the initial relief at being discharged from hospital, patients often face the frightening realisation that they are back in a difficult situation. There has to be sufficient funding for crisis resolution home treatment teams, who are currently so stretched they struggle to adequately support everyone who needs it.

We echo calls for the Government to spell out how each part of the strategy will be funded. We must know what money is currently allocated and who is responsible for implementation. Without proper resourcing and funding, we will not reduce suicide in England.'

Dr Peter Aitken 

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