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‘Disappointing’ failure to boost community care revealed by internal data

A ‘disappointingly slow’ transformation of community services means thousands of mental health patients are still presenting at emergency departments within weeks of being discharged from an inpatient facility.

Experts said an NHS England-led community transformation programme, launched in 2019 as part of a £2.3bn investment in mental health services, should have helped reduce readmission rates, but internal data seen by HSJ suggests the rates have actually increased since then.

The data reveals for the first time the proportion of patients discharged from inpatient care who then present to accident and emergency within two months.

The proportion of adult patients was 11 per cent in 2018-19, when the investment programme was launched, and had increased to 12 per cent by 2022-23, representing around 6,000 adult cases.

The situation appears worse for children, with an 18 per cent readmission rate within two months, up from 17 per cent in 2018-19.

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Source: HSJ, 8 August 2023


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