Psychiatric patients kill over 50 people each year

Over 50 homicides are committed each year in England and Wales by mental health patients but the number of cases is not increasing, according to a major survey out today.

The report by the National Confidential Inquiry into Suicide and Homicide by People with Mental Illness found five per cent of homicides were committed by people with schizophrenia, although only half of them were patients.

The five-year inquiry, based at the University of Manchester, found 1,300 patient suicides per year, with suicides by in-patients on the decline.

The inquiry recommended reducing absconding from in-patient units and strengthening the transition from ward to community.

Inquiry director and mental health “tsar” Louis Appleby said: “While it is unrealistic to expect services to prevent all suicides or homicides from this high risk group, it is time to change the widespread view that individual deaths are inevitable – such a view is bound to discourage staff from taking steps to improve safety.”

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