Mental health patients 'face long delays before being discharged'

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Mental health patients across the UK are waiting for years to be discharged, it has been reported.

At least 91 patients have waited more than a year to be discharged, while at least seven were stuck in mental units for more than two years, according to data obtained by the BBC under freedom of information laws.

England, Scotland and Northern Ireland each had at least one case where a patient had to wait more than three years before they were discharged.

The figures covering the past two years showed 320 patients had to wait at least 100 days before being discharged.

Dr Sridevi Kalidindi, of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, told the BBC that disagreements between different health bodies over funding of a patient's placement could lead to delays.

She said: "Where those relationships are not quite right, where everyone feels under a lot of pressure in terms of their own finances that's often where people can disagree."

Dr Kalidindi also said a cap on benefits made it harder for providers to meet demand.

"We know around the country of supported housing placements closing down as a result of this.

"We also know of supported housing that was going to come online being shelved by large housing providers who are in this space."

NHS England told the BBC: "The NHS is now increasing alternatives to hospital admissions.

"There is an extra £400 million for crisis resolution home treatment teams, as well as investment in community mental health services."