Reviews identify lack of support for people with personality disorders

Support for people with personality disorders is “very sparse” and many mental health services still operate “exclusionary practice” against them, a government report has revealed.

The Department of Health’s review of personality disorder services and the capacity plans for the development of services, which it asked regional commissioners to produce in 2004, found “no area has anything approaching an adequate level of provision”.

The review was published in the same week as the inquiry into the care of murderer Michael Stone, who had a severe antisocial personality disorder, substance abuse problems and psychotic symptoms.

It found he “did not easily fall into the province of one agency or combination of them”.

The DH review said some areas had identified “very little current service provision of any kind” and people with personality disorders, most of whom are not dangerous, were still excluded from many mental health services.

Many plans revealed that local commissioners did not intend to continue buying the specialist personality disorder in-patient services currently commissioned nationally beyond next year, when the money will become part of mainstream NHS funds.

Mind head of policy Marcus Roberts said the lack of services suggested that DH guidance published in 2003 calling for more provision had not been followed through.

The Stone inquiry criticised the lack of co-ordination and planning between agencies in Kent before Stone’s murder of Lin Russell and her six-year-old daughter Megan in 1996, saying provision lacked “clarity of purpose and co-ordination”.

But it said Stone was not ignored by agencies, as he received a lot of attention from services in Kent and would have received less assistance in many other parts of the country.

The inquiry concluded there was no evidence the murders would have been prevented if failings in his treatment had not occurred.

Further information
Report of the Independent Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Michael Stone
Personality Disorder Capacity Plans 2005

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