Depression prompts hundreds of trips to King’s Mill A&E

Feeling depressed is the main reason behind hundreds of trips a year to A&E at Sutton’s King’s Mill Hospital, figures suggest.

By Federica Bedendo
Thursday, 14th October 2021, 9:40 am

Mental health charity Mind said it was ‘deeply concerning’ to see so many people needing emergency care for this reason nationally.

NHS Digital data shows, in the year to March, ‘feeling depressed’ was a patient’s chief complaint in 370 attendances at Sherwood Forest Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs King’s Mill.

The chief complaint is what a clinician views, during a patient’s first assessment, as the main reason which drove them to seek emergency care, but is not an official diagnosis.

King's Mill Hospital, Sutton.

Across England, trusts recorded 114,000 accident and emergency department attendances in which a patient was initially recorded as feeling depressed in 2020-21.

It was the 28th most common reason – out of nearly 150 recorded – for heading to a casualty department nationally last year, coming above puncture wounds, back injuries, coughs and sore throats.

Different figures show ‘depressive disorder’ was listed as the first suspected or confirmed diagnosis in 350 A&E attendances at King’s Mill in 2020-21.

NHS trusts in England recorded 83,500 attendances where a diagnosis of depressive disorder was given to patients in A&E over the same period.

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Leila Reyburn, Mind policy and campaigns manager, said: “It is deeply concerning to see so many people feeling so mentally unwell they need to go to A&E.

“Many people have seen their mental health worsen during the coronavirus pandemic, which is why it is vital the Government uses the upcoming Spending Review to fund mental health services, so people can get help early on, before they find themselves in an emergency.”

The Government said its NHS Mental Health Implementation Plan sets out the need for the mental health workforce to grow by more than 27,000 by 2023-24.

An NHS spokeswoman said: “The NHS is expanding mental health services, including talking therapy services for people suffering from anxiety and depression.”

She said anyone needing help can self-refer online, contact an urgent 24/7 mental health helpline or access advice through the Every Mind Matters website.

She said: “Anyone who needs to attend A&E with mental health needs should receive expert, compassionate mental health care, with all A&E departments equipped with specialist mental health liaison teams.”

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