2016 Benchmarking of Adult and Older People’s Mental Health services – findings published

The NHS Benchmarking Network are pleased to announce that participation levels in the 2016 Adult and Older People’s Mental Health services benchmarking project hit record levels with all English NHS Trusts and Foundation Trusts who are providers of secondary mental health services taking part, along with all NHS providers of secondary mental health services within the NHS in Wales. In addition, we welcomed participants from Scotland, Northern Ireland and the States of Jersey, and continue to have involvement from specialist mental health providers in the independent sector.

This is the NHS Benchmarking Network’s 5th cycle of mental health benchmarking and the depth of the database developed with members has been used to make observations on time series comparisons and trends evident in NHS mental health services.

Participants of the project have received bespoke reports using registered and weighted populations to benchmark the data findings and have received a desktop toolkit including over 10,000 metrics for comparison.

Highlights from the 2015/16 audit

  • The 2016 findings are compelling and build on previous years’ work. Data from providers and discussions with member organisations confirms another challenging year with capacity tight in both inpatient care and community services. However, services appear to have responded to this challenge and key quality measures around service user and staff satisfaction rates both show improvements this year.
  • Inpatient services continue to experience high levels of utilisation and report the highest levels of bed occupancy of any NHS clinical specialty. Recent trends of bed reductions evident for the last 4 years in adult acute services now appear to have stabilised with adult acute bed numbers increasing marginally in the last year. However, wider bed reductions in other specialties including Older Adult, Rehabilitation, and Complex and Continuing Care have continued in the last year. Bed numbers for secure care are stable following the ongoing moratorium on commissioning new beds in these specialties.
  • The utilisation of bed capacity is high with increases in bed occupancy levels observed in many areas. Patient acuity is also observed to be high with care cluster data confirming ongoing high demand from patients with psychosis. Use of the Mental Health Act also increased for the fourth consecutive year with detention rates in adult acute services now one third higher than they were in 2012. Average length of stay has also increased for most bed types.
  • The difficult position for inpatient mental health services confirms the value of ensuring appropriate capacity is available in the community. The bulk of mental health care is delivered in the community with 97% of all people under the care of specialist mental health services being managed in the community at any one time.

Mental health is an important aspect of the NHS Benchmarking Network’s wider work programme and will continue as an on-going area of project work in future years. The commitment to enhance and develop the network’s mental health workstream in upcoming years provides an excellent platform for future service provision to members and engagement with the wider member community.

For more information on this work please contact:

Zoë Page
Programme Manager

David Hughes

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