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From The Socialist newspaper, 2 October 2013

TV review: Locked up for being ill?

Helen Pattison
Locked up for being ill: BBC Panorama, photo BBC

Locked up for being ill: BBC Panorama, photo BBC   (Click to enlarge)

A recent BBC Panorama episode, 'Locked up for being ill?', looks at the growing police involvement in supporting people with mental health problems. It showed people with severe mental illnesses kept in cells for up to 22 hours while police officers made repeated phone calls to the mental health unit who didn't respond.

Police complain about the waste of their time, as many people they take in have to be watched so carefully. One police officer says he spent hours trying to calm a woman with mental health needs, with no idea if it helped as he hasn't had the appropriate training.

The first half of the programme was a huge attack on mental health services until the police commissioner says: "there are not enough beds for the patients that we present to mental health units". Many adults with mental health problems in prisons are under-supported because of the stretched service.

Then the programme plays with the possibility that the services involved are stretched by cuts, causing further problems of "congestion" in the system. One man with mental health problems is ready to leave his bed on an adult acute ward but can't do so, as the service can't find him accommodation. Beds available in these services have dropped by 38% in the last five years.

The government is attacking the NHS, and other services the people portrayed by Panorama rely on. But police and mental health service professionals in this programme blamed other services for the problems and tried to find a solution within current funding levels. None of them said that if more people need the support of mental health units, then more funding is needed for all services needed for recovery.

Attacks to one service flood other services with problems. We must fight all the cuts to services. We need adequate funding for mental health services, housing for those able to leave, jobs and support for those not ready to return to work, and an end to attacks such as the bedroom tax which have led to people taking their own lives.

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In The Socialist 2 October 2013:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Nationalise them now!

Tax dodging corporations profit from casualisation

Big business puts profits before environment

Tory millionaire tells Britain: 'Back to the workhouse!'

Them & Us


Socialist Party NHS campaign

Fighting to defend our NHS


Socialist Party reviews

TV review: Locked up for being ill?

TV review: Peaky Blinders

Theatre review: A man of humble beginnings


Socialist Party editorial

Capitalist parties offer nothing to the 99%


Socialism 2013

Socialism 2013 - a weekend of discussion and debate hosted by the Socialist Party


Socialist Party workplace news

Solid support for teachers' strike

Firefighters' four-hour strike - determined and clear that coordinated action needed

Rochdale care workers dig in

Liverpool pay victory

Leeds zero-hour protest

In brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

28 percent for TUSC in Fleetwood

Lincoln: 400 march against Library cuts

The fight against academies in Leicester

Building Socialist Students


International socialist news and analysis

Greek government forced to take action against neo-fascists

Activists demand full public inquiry into undercover police operations

Sudan: 'Down with the regime!'

Qatar: End this modern-day slave labour


 

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