EXTRA mental health funding is needed for more beds, say health chiefs, after it emerged dozens of emergency patients in East Lancashire are being left waiting for 12 hours or more.

Bosses at Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust have revealed initial details of a major improvement plan, prompted by a surge in demand for mental health assistance.

Latest figures show the number of patients left waiting in the accident and emergency department at the Royal Blackburn Hospital shot up from 68 to 225 patients, from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

And the number of people brought to the casualty department by police, as a place of safety, rose from 170 to 396 over the same period.

Lancashire Care has drafted in consultants from the top-performing Northumbria, Tyne and Wear NHS Trust (NTW) to review pressures being placed on adult acute mental health services.

In a May board report Louise Corlett, Lancashire Care's head of business intelligence, added: "There remains fundamental gaps in Lancashire's bed provision, specifically no commissioned high dependency, long-term complex and learning disability beds."

Work is also ongoing to tackle the number of 'super-stranded' patients, who have been receiving treatment for 180 days or more, since a crisis summit was held in February, though the total did increase from 38 to 42 for March.

Later Russell Paton, the trust's operations director, said: "The trust has, along with local partners, received the report from NTW. We all welcome the report and its recommendations.

"We are in the process of informing contributors and stakeholders to tell them what it entails and the actions taken as a result. There is a plan in place and we will be publishing the full report and our response next week."

Joanne Moore, the trusts' executive operations director, also in the May board papers, added: "There is now a much clearer understanding across the system of what is required to resolve the pressures and the associated timescales, and a recognition that this will take some time to deliver sustainably."

She also says a request for additional funding had been made for A&E liaison, community teams and intensive home support.

Trust officials say a street triage pilot has been undertaken in Blackpool, which has begun to address the safety issue.

New chief executive Caroline Donovan has also joined the trust from North Staffordshire.