A report from Rethink Mental Illness and the London School of Economics indicates that cuts to community-based mental health care could be costing the NHS millions in the long-run. Cuts to budgets involve fewer people receiving early intervention treatment and having access to preventative care; meaning that mental health-related hospital admissions increase, instead of people being treated in the community.
The “Investing in Recovery” report states that it costs on average £13 a day to support someone in the community, compared with the average daily cost of £350 for maintaining a mental health patient in hospital. It is estimated that £50m per year could be saved by shifting focus and resources into preventive community services.
Stephens, P. (2014). Mental health cuts cost the NHS millions, charity says. London: BBC Health News, April 10th 2014.
Lack of Beds Forcing Mental Health Patients to Travel
The number of patients having to travel to obtain emergency treatment for mental health conditions has more than doubled in two years; from 1,301 people in 2011-12 to 3,024 in 2013-14. The scale of the problem has been revealed by data obtained from 30 of England’s 58 mental health trusts through FOI requests for a joint investigation between BBC News and the online journal CommunityCare.
Buchanan, M. (2014). Mental health patients forced to travel miles for care. London: BBC Health News, May 6th 2014.
The situation was worse, seemingly, by 2015:
Buchanan, M. (2015). Mental health patients sent ‘hundreds of miles’ for care. London: BBC Health News, July 15th 2015.
HSCIC’s 2015 Update
A Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) report, investigating the 226 English clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in October 2014, found that the average journey for mental health patients was 13 miles (22km). Most people travelled a distance of less than 10km (6 miles), but one in 10 people (1,665) had to travel a distance of 50km (31 miles) or more. One in 20 (778) mental health patients were required to travel 100km (62 miles) or more.
Rigby, N. (2015). Mental health patients travelling up to 79 miles for bed ‘not acceptable’. London: BBC News / BBC Health News, May 2nd 2015.
Data obtained by FOI requests from BBC News and CommunityCare Magazine indicate a worsening situation through to 2016:
Buchanan, M. (2016). More mental health patients sent hundreds of miles. London: BBC Health News, May 20th 2016.
Steps Towards Reducing Out of Area Placements (OAPs)
NHS Digital has launched a data collection to enable national level reporting on out of area placements (OAPs) for adults requiring acute inpatient mental health care, and thereby help to eliminate inappropriate OAPs by 2020/21.
Out of area placements in mental health services for adults in acute inpatient care. Online: Department of Health, September 30th 2016.
November 2019: Progress Update on OAPs
Triggle, N. (2019). Mental-health beds shortage ‘causing distress’. London: BBC Health News, November 6th 2019.
A deliberate misunderstanding, playfully intended:
Patterson, J. (2016). NHS England denies plan to cull older people. London [Online]: NHSNetworks, October 27th 2016.