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Royal College of Psychiatrists responds to mental health service enquiry into elderly

The Royal College of Psychiatrists responds to an independent inquiry conducted by the UK charity Age Concern, which revealed that 3.5m elderly people who have mental health problems cannot access adequate services and support

The Royal College of Psychiatrists has responded to an independent inquiry conducted by the UK charity Age Concern, which revealed that 3.5m elderly people who have mental health problems cannot access adequate services and support.

The investigation blames increases in the incidence of mental health problems and goes on to blame a lack of government resolve to make improvements to services and support. The report authors say that the UK government must improve mental health services for the elderly and ramp up funding. The report also identified that the proportion of elderly people with mental health issues was severely underestimated. 

Dr David Anderson, chair of the faculty of old age psychiatry at The Royal College of Psychiatrists, said: "This important report reminds us that dementia is not the only serious mental health problem affecting older people. Depression, a life threatening condition and the most common cause of suicide, is three times more common than dementia."

ìThe sequence of powerful reports this year addressing older peoples' mental health must compel government to put this at the top of the national health agenda. What we have actually seen is cuts to specialist services, reduced investment in social care, NICE denying people early treatment and no attention to acute hospitals where two-thirds of beds are occupied by the elderly, 60 per cent of whom also have a mental illness,î added Anderson.

14th August 2007

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