Rise in mental health patients in Lancashire

A BBC investigation has found that hundreds of mental health patients in crisis are being stranded in Lancashire A&E departments because of lack of space.

Following a five-fold increase in mental health patients turning up at emergency units over the last three years, Lancashire Care, which provides mental health care in the county, said it is working to resolve the problem.

When a mental health patient ends up at A&E, they need to be assessed by an approved mental health professional before they can be admitted to a psychiatric hospital or given some other help. Between April and December last year, 75 per cent of patients waiting more than 12 hours at Lancashire A&E departments had mental health conditions.

A representative from East Lancashire Hospitals Trust, which runs the Royal Blackburn Hospital, said that the situation is putting added pressure on an already pressurised department, but reassured that there was no danger to patients.

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