Patients with psychiatric disorders occupy
around 15% of total bed days in the NHS - and have a longer length
of stay than people with other medical conditions.
Psychiatrists Dr Parvathy Pillay and Dr Joanna
Moncrieff, from Mascalls Park Hospital in London, analysed hospital
episode data for all NHS trusts in England between 1998 and 2008.
They present their findings today at the Royal College of
Psychiatrists’ 2009 Annual Meeting in Liverpool.
Schizophrenia and mood disorders were among
the top ten conditions in terms of number of bed days occupied over
the time period.
In the 2007-08 financial year, people with
schizophrenia occupied a total of 2.14 million bed days, and were
the second largest diagnostic category after stroke. Mood disorders
occupied 1.42 million days, and were the seventh largest.
When all psychiatric conditions were added
together, they accounted for around 15% of the total number of days
in which NHS beds were occupied. The maximum was 15.8% in 2004-05
and minimum 13.7% in 2007-08.
The researchers also examined which conditions
had the longest lengths of stay. They found that eight of the ten
conditions with the longest lengths of stay were psychiatric
Lead researcher Dr Parvathy Pillay said: “The
number of psychiatric inpatient beds in England has fallen
dramatically since the 1980s, and further reductions to the number
of beds are planned in many areas across the country.
“However, our analysis shows that people with
psychiatric disorders occupy a large proportion of NHS beds and
have a longer length of stay compared with other medical
conditions. This needs to be taken into consideration when further
reductions in psychiatric bed numbers are considered.”
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Annual Meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, BT Convention Centre, Liverpool, 2 -5 June 2009