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31.01.18

Hunt pledges £25m to tackle ‘uncomfortable truth’ of inpatient suicide

Jeremy Hunt will pledge £25m today to tackle inpatient suicides, which he says are a “potential failure of care.”

The health and social care secretary is expected to reveal details of the measures later today in a bid to end more than 80 deaths a year.

Speaking at the National Suicide Prevention Alliance conference in London, Hunt will instruct every mental health trust in the country to table prevention plans, dealing first with inpatients.

The move will involve further reviews of suicide incidents and a greater focus on environmental risks in wards in an effort, as the secretary says to leave “no stone should be left unturned.”

Hunt will say: “The UK has one of the lowest suicide rates in Europe, not least thanks to some very good NHS care. But the uncomfortable truth is that every NHS inpatient’s suicide is a potential failure of care.”

The key to the new plans will be for trusts to learn from previous incidents, as well as providing more transparent reports.

Pilot schemes in the south west, Merseyside and the east of England are being held up as examples for all mental health trusts, with new measures including better tracking of at-risk patients and improved assessments of such risks.

“If we want to offer the highest standards of mental health provision we should recognise that the causes of an in-patient suicide may be systemic but are never inevitable,” Hunt will say.

“Every single such death causes untold misery to families and also to NHS staff so it is right to set our sights high and aim for nothing less than zero in-patient suicides.”

Top image: Peter Byrne PA Wire

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