Housing

Communities and Local Government written question – answered on 2nd October 2006.

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Photo of Yvette Cooper Yvette Cooper Minister of State (Department of Communities and Local Government) (Housing and Planning)

Although psychiatric patients should not be discharged as homeless, some may nevertheless self-discharge and not have accommodation available to them. People may be discharged to temporary accommodation as part of a plan agreed between mental health services and housing departments, but this is not recorded as part of routine monitoring,

Information collected by my Department about households accepted by local authorities as unintentionally homeless and in a priority need group identifies those where the applicant or a household member was vulnerable as a result of mental illness or disability. National results for years since 1997 are presented in table 4 of the quarterly Statistical Release on homelessness, first quarter of 2006, published on 12 June. However, information on the number of these who had been former psychiatric patients, and whether they were subsequently allocated temporary accommodation or a settled tenancy, is not available centrally.

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Annotations

Alix Cull
Posted on 6 Oct 2006 8:53 pm (Report this annotation)

No psychiatric patient should be discharged without a roof over their head to go to. If they are suffering in particular from a severe and enduring illness they should be referred to a G.P., found a home, and all rehabilitation services which are part of their treatment and care in the community should be in place. This is of National concern, and as mental health once a Government priority has been shamefully neglected, and specific funding used for other purposes in some places. It is little wonder that so many patient with fluctuating illnesses, who at times are unable to recognise their condition, end up in the penal service and prison. This not only adds to the overcrowding in prisons, but to a deterioration in the patient's condition. It is no wonder also that a large number of suicides are by people suffering from mental illness. My mention of prisons does not infer that I consider that there are no criminals, but it also demonstrates that the closure of the mental hospitals, without proper provision of Care in the Community has made life more difficult for this vulnerable group.
Shame!
If a mentally ill person is in crisis the rules used to be that they could be removed to a place of safety. this being a hospital, a police station, or "any other house that would accept them". this last was very vague, but I am of the understanding that "places of safety" have now been removed from the recommendations. Could this be elucidated upon.

molijana
Posted on 6 Oct 2006 9:55 pm (Report this annotation)

How many of us have lost our homes because of having mental health conditions?

Pauline Campbell
Posted on 6 Oct 2006 9:58 pm (Report this annotation)

The closure of mental hospitals, and the all too frequent use of prison for the mentally ill, reflects a paucity of compassion and humanity on the part of Government. Of course those convicted of criminal offences must be held to account. But so, too, should Government be held to account for allowing these vulnerable people to be sent to 'social dustbins' [jails], when they are desperately in need of care and treatment [not punishment].
Shame on Labour, indeed.

Robert Naether
Posted on 7 Oct 2006 10:28 am (Report this annotation)

The sad fact is the care in the community for those with mental health problems is under severe stress.

Last year an old lady living across the road from me started having dementia, social services stated although it is a mental health problem it is up to the community to help out. She was wondering off late at night and in the Early mornings, she was 85 her husband had severe health problems, I am disabled. Many morning at one or two I get a phone call saying she has gone, I would dress look for her, if I could not find her I call the police, they might come out but normally they say to busy.

Social services came out one week end when her husband had a heart attack, she was alone and struggling to understand, social service knocked on my door leaving the lady standing there they disappeared. I spend the afternoon asking social services for help being told sorry it is the week end. Finally I talked the police into arresting her under the mental health act, oh and the NHS could not help and the after hours doctors service in Wales put me in touch with a doctor in Manchester, we are in Swansea. Finally after a year I had done enough, I took the lady to my local hospital and left her, I had the police telling me it was my duty to help her, I had my MP say it is care in the community and we should be looking to the Victorians little does she know the mental health during those years, and my local council saying we are not helping the community. Finally I had enough and refused to help anymore, her husband placed a pillow over her face, he took and over dose, it was sheer luck I called to see if they were OK, the police finally acted and they are both now in care, it took twelve months. The people who did the lease were the social services, the NHS and the bloody community.

Labour has done nothing to help us, it now takes me eight weeks to see my GP, I have not seen a dentist in nine years, I have a grandson who has not seen a dentist he is seven, he had twelve teeth removed this week in an emergency treatment.

I hope Labour never again gains government I have had enough of the tripe the lies and the bullshit.