There was a 34% rise in serious incidents across NHS England’s 58 Mental Health trusts in 2014-2015 compared to the previous year.
The figures, obtained by Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb, show that there has been thousands of unexpected deaths and suicides, as the number of SIs involving patient suicide, or suspected suicide, also rose by 26%.
This comes after it was revealed in December that Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust failed to investigate the unexpected deaths due to poor care in the Mid-Staffordshire scandal.
Moreover, these figures may be too small. NHS England has advised that the figures are unlikely to include all reported SIs related to unexpected deaths and fatal self-harm. These incidents might be reported under a different incident category, while some trusts avoid categorising an incident as a suicide unless the Coroner has made a formal verdict of ‘suicide’ at inquest.
Lamb blamed the way that funding gets allocated to mental health, which he says “always means that it loses out.”
Due to the financial strain on clinical commissioning groups, mental health funding is often cut since it’s unprotected, he added.
"The Clinical Commissioning groups should be equally focussed on mental health as well as physical health. At the moment whenever they feel under pressure to cut budgets, it’s the unprotected mental health services that get sliced.
“Year after year the problem occurs, and year after year the problem gets worse. This cannot continue any longer. People are literally dying as a result of the horrific under funding," he stated.