Patient experiencing mental health crisis kept in ambulance for 12 hours

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A patient experiencing a mental health crisis was detained in an ambulance for 12 hours as a result of there being no space inside of a Cambridgeshire hospital.

The patient was taken by police and paramedics to Addenbrooke’s Hospital after being detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act. Due to a lack of space the patient was reportedly held in an ambulance outside of the hospital and was monitored by two police officers and paramedics. Attempts were made to transfer the patient to dedicated mental health services, however this was not possible until the following morning as they were experiencing the same high demand.

Cambridge University Hospitals Trust has reported a record number of patients attending its A&E department over recent weeks and admitted that it has struggled to cope with the demand due to staff shortages.

Chantae Clark, a paralegal in the medical negligence team at Ashtons Legal comments: “The NHS have undoubtedly worked extremely hard to overcome the pressures of the pandemic, however what happened to this patient is sadly as a result of previous under-investment in mental health care. For someone in a mental health crisis, being kept in an ambulance for 12 hours would have caused further trauma and distress. It is about time that mental health issues were treated in the same way as physical injuries.

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