Mental Health Nurse Shortages

Mental Health Nurse Shortage-01

Over the last ten years Mental Health figures have increased by 68%, with almost 3 children in every class being diagnosed with a mental health disorder. These can include:

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Conduct Disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Eating Disorders
  • Schizophrenia

With these rising figures the funding of mental health services needs to be increased. As hospitals and special mental health units have seen a visual 10% decrease over the past 5 years of nurses, putting the growing numbers of patients at risk.

Back in 2010 over 41,320 qualified nurses were working within the Psychiatry sector; this is in comparison to 2015 where only 36,870 nurses were fully trained. Whereas Psychiatry nurses working within the community have seen a small cut from 15,986 to 15,826. While an extra 100 mental health nurses are now being trained every year, there are still too few to cope with the demands for the care that they provide.


Figures obtained from 42 of England’s 56 NHS mental health trusts under the Freedom of Information Act revealed 5,411 patients were sent to out-of-area hospitals in 2015-16, up 13% from 4,093 in 2014-15.

Some patients are being sent  200-250 miles for care due to their local units being full. Sending patients away for beds can be necessary for specialist units, such as eating disorder care. However, figures from trusts that recorded admission reasons showed that more than 90% of out-of-area placements last year were due to local bed shortages.

Distances patients were sent included:

  • Devon to Bradford – 286 miles
  • Liverpool to Ticehurst – 276 miles
  • Manchester to Southampton – 232 miles
  • Leeds to Glasgow – 224 miles
  • Bristol to Preston – 200 miles

A mental health crisis is an emergency; practice is being affected as well as the wellbeing of an individual. The Shortage of Mental Health staff is at a crisis point. Practice is being affected as well as the wellbeing of the individuals.