Nearly half of NHS patients with a learning disability or autism are still being kept inappropriately in hospitals, several years into a key programme to reduce inpatient care, a national review reveals.
The newly published review by NHS England suggests 41% of inpatients, assessed over an eight-month period to May 2022, should be receiving care in the community.
Reasons given for continued hospital care in the NHSE review included lack of suitable accommodation, with 19% having needs which could be delivered by community services; delays in moving individuals into the community with appropriate aftercare; legal barriers, with one region citing “ongoing concerns for public safety” as a barrier for discharge; and no clear care plans.
In some cases, individuals were placed in psychiatric intensive care units on a long-term basis, because “there was nowhere else to go”, while another instance cited a 20-year stay in hospital.
Other key themes included concerns about staff culture, particularly “institutionalisation” and suggestions that discharge delays were not being sufficiently addressed.
The report adds: “While the process around discharge can be time consuming, staff may perpetuate this by accepting such delays as necessary or inevitable.”
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Source: HSJ, 22 February 2023