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Adult and older adult mental health services 2012-2016

An analysis of Mental Health NHS Benchmarking Network data for England and Wales

This report summarises the results of a collaboration between Centre for Mental Health and the NHS Benchmarking Network. The NHS Benchmarking Network (NHSBN) is a member-based organisation of NHS commissioners and providers who collect and analyse data on health care services across the NHS. NHSBN have made their mental health data available to the Centre to provide an independent commentary on what the data suggests about secondary NHS mental health provision in England and Wales.

The data shows a sustained decrease in the number of adult acute inpatient beds for all but the last year that data was collected. This is continuing a trend over a number of decades.

While bed numbers have fallen in recent years, the number of admissions and lengths of stay in hospital have not. And the proportion of people admitted under the Mental Health Act has risen year on year. This has put greater pressure on inpatient units, resulting in higher bed occupancy rates, consistently above the levels recommended by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Overall community mental health team provision in secondary care reduced slightly between 2012/13 and 2015/16. However towards the end of the period, early intervention and crisis services grew again in response to national policy developments.

The last five years have witnessed a shift in care provision for people with common mental health problems with over 900,000 people in England now supported through new primary care services such as the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies initiative.

The data we analysed covers the five years prior to the introduction of the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health in England and offers a snapshot of the development of community and inpatient services up to that point.