Seven mental health patients died waiting for beds

Seven mental health patients have killed themselves in England since 2012 after being told there were no hospital beds for them, the BBC has learned.

An investigation of coroners' reports and NHS trust papers with the journal Community Care found another patient denied a bed later killed his mother.

It comes as mental health beds are being cut in England - figures show more than 2100 have gone since 2011.

The NHS England said spending on mental health was increasing in real terms.

The investigation by BBC News and Community Care has also revealed an email that a chief executive of a mental health trust wrote to NHS England in frustration this summer after one of her senior officials came to tell her that: "Yet again there were no mental health beds in London in either the NHS or private sector."

Wendy Wallace, head of Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust, bemoaned NHS England's lack of interest in the problem. She wrote: "I could not envisage a situation where all the acute beds in London were full and there was not even an investigation into the situation nor a plan of action."

The investigation established that since 2012 seven people across England have taken their own lives having been told no beds were available. They were:
  •     Pauline Binch, 64, from Nottingham
  •     Stephanie Daniels, 32, from Manchester
  •     Michael Knight, 20, from Norfolk
  •     Mandy Peck, 39, from Essex
  •     Anthony Quigley, 53, London
  •     Terence Mullin, 53, from Liverpool
  •     An unnamed man from Sheffield

In addition, Peter Holboll from London admitted the manslaughter of his mother, Tamara, having been told no beds were available.

A ninth person, Amanda Vickers, 47, from Cumbria, died after being denied a bed in a crisis house, a facility used to treat patients outside hospitals.
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