A man with mental health problems had to sleep on the floor at the Royal Bolton Hospital's A&E department during an exhausting 26-hour plus wait for a bed.

Timothy Pope, aged 26, from Tonge Moor, was taken into the Royal Bolton on the evening of Tuesday, July 19.

He had been taken to the hospital by police under Section 136 of the Mental Health Act, which gives officers emergency powers to take a person from a public place to a place of safety if they think they have a mental disorder, are in a public place and need immediate help. 

Last Wednesday, Timothy said: “I was section 136’d by the police after a welfare check and taken to hospital for further examinations by the mental health team. 

“The mental health team assessed me and made the decision to section me. 

“I’ve been in A&E since 7.30pm yesterday (Tuesday), I’ve been left in a room with two police officers. 

“What I don’t understand is the mental health team probably knew what the outcome of the assessment would be given my record. 

“If they knew what would happen, why not pre-look for a bed. Can we do something else like outpatient treatment or does he really need admitting to hospital.” 

When he initially spoke to The Bolton News, Timothy had been waiting for a bed for 17 hours, but by the time one had been allocated, it had been over 26 hours since he’d arrived. 

He added: “The upsetting thing was when I was assessed the mental health team said I’d have a bed within three hours. 

“The mental health team saying we’ve not got you a bed was getting me more frustrated, then police have to deal with me being upset and taking it out on them because the mental health team just disappeared again. 

“By the time they did find me a bed I didn’t want to come into hospital. I refused to eat and drink because you have no faith in them, they tell you stuff and it’s not the truth. 

“I got here at 10pm last night (Wednesday) and my room wasn’t ready.” 

Timothy was transferred to the Moorside Unit at Trafford General Hospital in order to provide him with a bed. 

He believes that the long waits make people less likely to come forward with issues.

He said: “Obviously the mental health team only can do so much, but me now waiting 26-27 hours is why people with mental health issues don’t reach out. 

“If they acted quickly, people would reach out instead of doing stuff. 

Deborah Partington, Chief Operating Officer at Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (GMMH) said: “At GMMH, we always do everything we can to provide timely support and treatment to those presenting in A&E in a mental health crisis.

"This includes finding an appropriate bed as quicky as possible for those who require it. 

“We are currently experiencing a high demand on such services in Bolton, meaning there are sometimes instances when people have complex needs where this process can be delayed. We express our wholehearted apologies to those who have experienced this.” 

She added: “We are working hard with all our system partners to ensure we continue to provide the best possible care; and would like to offer reassurance that our services remain safe and available for all who need them. 

“If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health problems, help is available.

"Our mental health helpline is available all day and night, 365 days per year, free of charge, on 0800 953 0285.

"To find out about the support services in your area, visit www.gmmh.nhs.uk or speak with your GP.” 

Jo Street, director of operations at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We aim to provide the highest levels of care possible and are sorry to our patients and their loved ones when we do not meet these high standards. 

“Making sure our patients are seen, diagnosed and treated as quickly as possible is one of our top priorities, which our staff work hard to do in the face of our busy emergency department. 

“We continue to work with our partners to increase the amount of available bed space available for our patients.”