News Police hold database on 999 callers
New evidence that shows that the police are storing details of 999 callers alongside criminals and suspects has caused alarm among mental health campaigners.
freedom of information request by the Press Association has revealed that forces across the country are routinely keeping personal details of those who call 999 or
non emergency numbers.
Police staff not only record names, addresses and contact details, but they also ask about the callers’ date of birth and ethnicity.
Mental health campaigners have slammed this practice, which they fear will disproportionately impact on service users and their families.
They point out that when a mental health service users is in crisis, often the only way to get them into hospital is to call 999, so that they can be taken into care via a section 136 (s136) of the Mental Health Act.
A report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) the use of a police cell as a place of safety, published in 2008, showed that 11,500
people were placed in a police cells between 2005 and 2006. Mental health activists say that in the majority of these cases the police would have been called and so many of these people will now be on police databases alongside criminals and suspects, without even knowing it.
Senior officers have admitted that information on these systems could be used against people as part of any future police investigation. They say that gathering is needed to fight crime, protect the vulnerable and make sure that concerns are dealt with properly.
Records held by police forces Sussex – 5.6 million over seven years Hertfordshire – 1.6 million since 1989 West Midlands – 1.1 million over 12 years Lancashire – around 600,000 North Wales – 302,754 Cleveland – 172,369 Avon and Somerset – 162,968 Lincolnshire – 10,091
mortality rates among under-65s with one of these two disorders were stable during that time, while those for the general population decreased.
Mortality gap for people labelled with a severe mental illness widening
A new study published by the British Medical Journal online, BMJ.com
showing that the mortality gap for people with serious mental illness is increasing should act as a ‘wake-up call’ health campaigners say.
rave concerns has been voiced over new evidence which shows that people
who are given a diagnosis of severe mental illness like schizophrenia are dying from common physical health problems a study by scientists at the University of Oxford and King’s College London shows.
Researchers looked at data on patients who had been discharged from hospital in England who had been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder during a period of 1999 and 2006. They then compared their mortality with that of the general population.
The scientists discovered that the
This latest research adds to an established body of evidence which shows that the side effects of medications such as antipsychotics or antidepressants, could put people at an increased risk of a number of health problems such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In spite of this evidence mental health providers as well as general practitioners are not aware of these risks and are failing to increase monitoring for these conditions.
Advocates working in the community have also pointed out that people with severe mental illnesses are very often dismissed when they visit their GPs, who fail to take them seriously when talk about their health concerns.
Researchers highlighted the need for ‘continued action’ to target the risk factors for premature death in people with serious mental illness.
Financial squeeze likely to hit mental health acute services hardest
Cuts to mental health services and in local authority spending may well turn out to be a false economy in the long run new research shows.
survey of NHS Confederation members showed that 23% of mental
health organisations say that the quality of clinical outcomes will decrease when the cuts in budgets begin to kick in.
This survey estimates that experiences will be twice as bad in the acute sector, where the need is greatest. The NHS Confederation Members Survey found that most organisations were experiencing financial pressure. 23 % of respondents from Mental Health organisations thought that the quality of clinical outcomes would decrease; (twice as many as in the acute sector). This survey also found that a majority of respondent thought that cuts to Local Authority spending would be problematic with nearly half of community providers and a third of mental health providers anticipating the cuts would be extremely problematic. ‘I worry that there may be a significant finance problem coming down the track. We are already picking up worrying signals from a number of hospitals and primary care trusts about significant money pressures emerging, and this is before the very challenging rigours of next year’s tight financial settlement. Policy makers have got to be alive to this if they are serious about protecting frontline services,’ Nigel EdwardsActing chief executive of the NHS Confederation said.
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