The Mental Health Act allows for the compulsory admission and detention of people with mental health disorders against their will when its thought to be in their best interests. More details about this can be found on the MIND website -
Many people choose to go to hospital as informal or voluntary patients when they know they need help. So why may closing the inpatient beds in Lancaster lead to more women being admitted and detained against their will?
The Husband of a Service User had this to say.
"When my wife last got ill, I persuaded her to go into hospital as I was concerned about her well being. I'd be very reluctant to do that now, knowing that she'd be sent miles away from me and her family. That would make it even worse."
A female service user said,
"There's no way I would go in hospital voluntarily now. I couldn't face the thought of being ill and miles away from everyone I knew. The thought makes my stomach sink and I just couldn't do that to the children and my parents."
If families and women are reluctant to ask for help as they don't want to be sent out of area, or they won't go into hospital voluntarily, then the medical professionals may have no choice but to admit and detain them under a section.
If women are less likely to ask for help for fear of being admitted, its possible that their condition will deteriorate to the point where detention is inevitable.
When women are in hospital miles away from their children, families and friends, they are more likely to press for early discharge. There is plenty of research that shows that patients discharged from hospital are more likely to relapse and be readmitted.
Closing female beds puts women at increased risk of sectioning.