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Concern at rise in delayed discharge from mental health trusts

Delayed discharge from mental health and learning disability trusts in England up 56% 
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There was a 56% increase in the number of delayed discharges from 24 mental health and learning disability trusts last year, NHS England figures reveal.

Bed days lost to delayed discharges rose to 17,509 in October 2016, compared with 11,242 in November 2015. In acute trusts, there was a 30% increase from 113,054 to 147,226 over the same period. In community trusts, bed days lost because of delayed discharges rose by a third from 23,056 to 30,711.

Lack of community services

RCN professional lead for mental health Ian Hulatt said: People are ready to go home from acute wards but they cannot because community facilities are not available.

This delays the discharge and can result in inpatients getting quite cross. It has implications for the quality of the ward environment.

He added that follow-ups by community psychiatric nurses within seven days of

There was a 56% increase in the number of delayed discharges from 24 mental health and learning disability trusts last year, NHS England figures reveal.

Bed days lost to delayed discharges rose to 17,509 in October 2016, compared with 11,242 in November 2015. In acute trusts, there was a 30% increase – from 113,054 to 147,226 – over the same period. In community trusts, bed days lost because of delayed discharges rose by a third from 23,056 to 30,711.  

Lack of community services

RCN professional lead for mental health Ian Hulatt said: ‘People are ready to go home from acute wards but they cannot because community facilities are not available.

‘This delays the discharge and can result in inpatients getting quite cross. It has implications for the quality of the ward environment.’

He added that follow-ups by community psychiatric nurses within seven days of patients being discharged following an acute episode are essential because of the risk of self-harm and suicide.

Major challenges

He said: ‘If patients are followed up effectively, the community psychiatric nurses will be extremely busy. It is another area where the resources are not always where they should be.’

Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Norman Lamb, who obtained the figures from NHS England, said a lack of available support from community psychiatric nurses and district nurses is leading to major challenges for mental health patients waiting to be discharged from hospitals.

The Department of Health said the government is investing £400 million in crisis resolution and home treatment teams as an alternative to acute inpatient admissions.

A spokesperson said: ‘The Five Year Forward View for mental health will transform services by 2020/21 to make sure urgent improvements are made.’

In other news:

Deadline extended to enter the RCNi Nurse Awards 2017

Red Cross defends claim of ‘humanitarian crisis’ in NHS

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