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Mentally ill patients hit by shortage of nurses.

Byline: Nigel Nelson POLITICAL EDITOR

MENTALLY ill patients are being denied early care because of a shortage of specialist nurses.

The delay means more have to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act as their conditions worsen.

NHS chiefs then have to spend on residential care for people who could have been treated more cheaply as outpatients.

A report by the Royal College of Nursing published today shows 3,300 mental health nurses have been lost since 2010.

The number of mental health beds is down by 1,500. Meanwhile demand has risen by 30%.

Many patients receive no treatment until they are ill enough to be detained.

Royal College of Nursing boss Dr Peter Carter said: "The fact mental health service are facing staff cuts and bed shortages is a shocking tragedy.

"Sterling work is in danger of being undone through short-sighted responses to cost pressures."

All political parties have pledged to improve care for mentally ill people.

Nearly a third of mental health nurses are aged over 50 and can retire at 55.

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Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Nov 23, 2014
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