Exploring Mental Health Inpatient Capacity
The pressure on mental health inpatient services in Englandis growing, and the impact of this pressure on people who use these services and on clinical staff cannot be underestimated. Staff working in mental health units want to deliver safe and effective services for patients, but these aims are severely challenged when wards are fully occupied. The use of inappropriate out of area placements means that individuals are separated from their families and social networks for the duration of their inpatient care. Of even more concern is that people whohave received inpatient care out of area have a higher risk of suicide when they return home than those who are treated locally.For these reasons it is timely to carry out a detailed analysis of mental health inpatient capacity in England, with afocuson Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships.
This work builds on the 2016 Independent Commission on adult acute mental health care, delivering a thorough analysis of the number of mental health bedsavailable, the use of these servicesand the changing patternsof morbidity of those who are admitted. The analysis is enhanced by interviews with members of the Royal College of Psychiatristsand areviewof the evidence base.The NHS must take advantage of commitments to increase funding for mental health, finding enduring solutions to this longstanding issue.