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Mental health trust beds cut by 15% in four years

Mental health trust beds cut by 15% in four years

Bed occupancy rates in mental health trusts have risen to 94% in four years as the number of beds falls by 15%, according to a report from the Centre for Mental Health
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Bed occupancy rates in mental health trusts have risen to 94% in four years as the number of beds falls by 15%, according to a report from the Centre for Mental Health.

An analysis of data from the NHS Benchmarking Network found that while the number of acute inpatient beds for adults with mental health problems has fallen by 15% between 12/13 and 15/16, the number of people admitted and the time they stayed in hospital did not change.

In addition to this, the report found that staffing levels also fell by 20% in that time frame.

Community mental health services also took a hit with the number of people on community team caseloads reduced by 6%, staffing levels down by 4% and contacts reduced by 7%.

Sarah Hughes, chief executive of centre for mental health, said the reductions in community services are ‘a major cause for concern’.

She said: ‘It is simply not sustainable to keep cutting community services at the same time as reducing bed numbers.’

The report also found that that the proportion of people admitted under the Mental Health Act rose from 25% in 2012/13 to 35% in 2015/16.

Meanwhile, at least half of inpatients are detained under the Act at some point during their hospital stay.

Saffron Cordery, NHS Providers director of policy and strategy, said the findings reveal a ‘potent mix’ of rising demand, increased numbers of inpatients and gaps in the workforce and reduced community support.

She said: ‘We recognise the progress that has been made in highlighting the stigma of mental ill health and the priority it has been given within the NHS.

‘But we need urgent action to deliver on the ambitions set out in the Five year forward view for mental health.

‘Although we know that many mental health trusts are delivering against the odds, there is a long way to go until this has the desired impact up and down the country. We must not under-estimate the scale of the challenges we face.’

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