People suffering severe mental illness in west London are being made to wait weeks for vital treatment.

Figures show that 71% of those referred for the first time with suspected psychosis between March 1 and May 31 2017, had to wait 14 days or more to get help from a west London Health trust.

Psychosis is a severe mental illness in which people perceive or interpret things differently from those around them.

It can involve hallucinations and delusions and cause disorganised thinking and speech.

Alison Cobb, senior policy and campaigns officer at mental health charity Mind, said: "We now have clear standards for treatment for people who have experienced their first episode of psychosis, who should be seen within two weeks.

"For someone experiencing psychosis, timely treatment is vital.

"Evidence shows that getting help as early as possible helps you manage your mental health better in the future and minimises the impact on your life, including relationships with friends and family, housing and finances.

People suffering severe mental illness in West London are being made to wait weeks for vital treatment.



“We have a clear plan for the next five years of mental health services – the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health - and as part of that trusts should be aiming to ensure that 50% of people are seen within two weeks of experiencing their first episode of psychosis.

"Services need to meet this target, so that more people get the support they need to recover and live fulfilling lives."

NHS Digital data shows there were a total of 35 people referred to West London Mental Health NHS Trust with suspected first episode psychosis starting their treatment, 25 of whom waited two or more weeks to start treatment.

Among the people referred, there were 30 aged 18 to 34.

There were also 75 people referred to Central And North West London NHS Foundation Trust and 30 (40%) had to wait two weeks or more.


Across England, between March 1 and May 31, 3,356 people referred with suspected first episode psychosis started treatment, of which 1,421 (42%) waited two weeks or more.

A West London Mental Health NHS Trust spokesman said: "We are aware of this issue and have developed a plan to respond to it.

“Earlier this year we discovered an issue with our internal processes which meant that although patients were being seen and treated, we weren’t seeing people as quickly as we ought to and it wasn’t being recorded in the correct way.

“Since then, we have put in place a number of improvements to our processes. We are now confident that we are hitting the target of 50% of people experiencing a first episode of psychosis being treated within two weeks of referral.”

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