What is the shortage of beds in British public hospitals for the UK National Health Service?
What effect has the outbreak of Covid-19 had on the increase in patients with mental disorders in the UK?
What is the prevalence of mental illness in the UK?
According to government statistics in the UK, beds for patients with mental disorders in public hospitals are in severe shortage. The government has resorted to the private sector to compensate.
Shortage of beds in UK public hospitals
The Guardian reports that the British National Health Service (NHS) pays £2bn a year to private hospitals to care for the mentally ill because government hospital beds are insufficient to care for them. According to the report, the British government spends less than £15 billion a year treating patients with mental disorders, of which more than 13% is from private hospitals.
Private hospitals help the mentally ill.
Paul Farmer, the chief executive of Mind, says the shortage of psychiatric beds in UK public hospitals is not new, and we face this problem every year. He said: “While this use of private care providers is itself not concerning, the fact that some patients are being transferred to private providers halfway across the country, or indeed providers who have been deemed by the CQC to be delivering inadequate standards of care, is incredibly worrying, particularly as some of these referrals seem to have led to tragic and fatal consequences.”
700,000 Britons with severe mental health problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are delayed treatment. The number of people with mental illness has almost doubled from 2009 to 2020. Members of the British Parliament, while warning about the increasing number of people at risk of mental crisis who have to be hospitalised or arrested to save their lives, said that the public health service is getting worse.
The plight of the British Public Health Service
Public services are provided only to depressed and anxious patients, and people with complex mental illnesses are ignored. Despite the announced public service plan to make all health services available by 2021, caring for people at risk, such as suicidal ideation, self-harm, and ending life, is not enough.
Increased mental disorders with the prevalence of Covid-19
Researchers at the University of Sheffield have found that the risk of mental illness, including anxiety and depression, increases after Covid-19. British researchers have said that considering the psychological problems of people who have survived Covid-19 disease should be prioritised. The results of this study, recently published in The BMJ, show that Covid-19 is associated with an increased risk of mental health disorders, including anxiety, depression, substance use, and sleep disorders, up to one year after the initial infection.
Risk of mental illness in patients with Covid-19
Researchers have previously suggested that people with Covid-19 may be at risk for anxiety and depression, but the findings were incomplete. Because the researchers looked at only two of its side effects, and the second point is that they only looked at people over six months. But a comprehensive assessment of people’s mental health with Covid-19 after one year has not yet been performed. Researchers at the University of Sheffield analysed data from the US Department of Veterans Affairs from March 30, 2020, and July 2021. They assessed the risk of mental illness in people with Covid-19 at least 30 days after their PCR test was positive. They looked at data from 153,848 people and compared it with two control groups that did not have Covid-19. Most of the participants were white people with an average age of 63 years.
60% more likely to have developmental disorders
The researchers then divided the people with Covid-19 into two groups: hospitalised and non-hospitalised, and their data were collected based on factors such as age, gender, race, lifestyle and medical history.
The researchers then looked at these people for a year to assess their risk for mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stress disorders, substance use disorders, neurocognitive decline and sleep disorders. The researchers found that people with Covid-19 had a 60 percent higher risk of developing mental health problems or receiving a prescription than those in the control group who didn’t. These risks were higher in people who were hospitalised in the early stages of Covid-19 but were evident even in those who were not hospitalised. People with Covid-19 also had a higher risk of developing mental disorders than people with seasonal flu.
According to figures provided by the UK government, hospital beds in the private sector have increased from 9,291 beds in 2010 to 10,123 beds in 2021, but the number of beds in the public sector has decreased relatively. For this reason, the British health system is facing a shortage of beds for the mentally ill and has resorted to the private sector to solve the problem.