Discharge delays more common in mental health trusts

Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Register to read more

New data from NHS England has found more delays in discharges from mental health trusts than seen in other parts of the NHS.

Acute NHS trusts had a 30% rise in the number of bed days lost to delayed discharges, while mental health trusts saw a rise of 56%. The data compared discharge numbers in October 2016 with November 2015.

The number of bed days lost in psychiatric trusts during October 2016 was 17,509. In their broader analysis of the figures, NHS England found an increase of 43% lost bed days when trusts that provide community as well as mental health services were taken into account.

The research was commissioned by Liberal Democrat MP and former care minister, Norman Lamb. He said: ‘It’s all part of a system under impossible strain. Mental health has suffered much more in terms of financial terms than the rest of the NHS, there’s a discrimination.’

It is thought that a combination of rising demand and cuts to local authority budgets had led to a lack of social care packages available to patients upon discharge, which could explain the rise seen in the data.

However, other factors may include poor community psychiatric provision and a l...