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Hospital care: clear differences between mental health service users and others

August 30, 2013: Longer hospital stays and fewer procedures on average, for mental health service users, new analysis shows

**HSCIC must be credited as the source of these figures**

New analysis released for the first time today shows the group of patients who use NHS funded specialist mental health services have a different pattern of hospital care compared to hospital patients who are not mental health service users.

Today's report from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) shows differences in the age profile of the two groups, the length of stay, procedures and diagnoses recorded during 2011/12.

This detailed report follows initial HSCIC analysis3 that showed mental health service users have more than double the attendance rate across hospital services (A&E, inpatients, and outpatients) compared to the general population.

Considering data for the 1.6 million mental health service users, compared to hospital patients who are not mental health service users, today's report shows:

Arrival and time spent in A&E

· Half of the mental health group attending A&E arrived by ambulance, compared to about one in four of the other A&E attendees.

· Upon arriving at A&E, for both groups, the most common length of stay in A&E was between three and four hours

· Upon discharge from A&E, a larger proportion of the mental health group were admitted to hospital, at just over a third (36 per cent) compared to less than a quarter (22 per cent) of other A&E attendees.

Time spent in hospital

· The age profile of hospital inpatients from the mental health group includes proportionally more 'older' people, peaking at 85 years old, compared to other hospital inpatients who peak in the mid 60's to mid-70's.

· As inpatients, those from the mental health group had a longer average length of stay - at 3.1 days compared to 2.1 days for other inpatients.

· Inpatients from the mental health group were less likely to have any procedures during their stay; more than two thirds (70 per cent) of the 5.1 million bed days occupied by this group were for patients with no procedure recorded. This compares to just over a third (37 per cent of 28.5 million bed days) for other hospital inpatients.


· The most common diagnosis for inpatients from the mental health group was a urinary tract infection, which is likely to be a reflection of their older demographic. This diagnosis was the fifth most common for other hospital inpatients.

· Ranking primary diagnosis by number of care episodes, there were clear differences between the mental health group and other hospital inpatients. Diagnoses that were much more common for the mental health group included:

o Mental and behavioural disorders due to use of alcohol

o Senility

o Schizophrenia

o Poisoning by psychotropic drugs not elsewhere classified

o Depressive episode

o Poisoning by antiepileptic, sedative-hypnotic and anti-parkinsonism

The report is at:


Notes to editors

1. The Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) was established on April 1 2013 as an Executive Non Departmental Public Body (ENDPB). The trusted source of authoritative data and information relating to health and care, HSCIC plays a fundamental role in driving better care, better services and better outcomes for patients. It supports the delivery of IT infrastructure, information systems and standards to ensure information flows efficiently and securely across the health and social care system to improve patient outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 130 statistical publications annually; providing a range of specialist data services; managing informatics projects and programmes and developing and assuring national systems against appropriate contractual, clinical safety and information standards.

2. Figures for attendances at A&E and inpatient episodes of care relate to patient activity in 2011/12.

3. The group of Mental health service users referred to in this report are adults aged 18 and over who were in contact with specialist mental health services funded by the NHS in England, in 2011/12.These services include community and rehabilitation services, residential care centres, day clinics and drop-in centres, as well as mental health inpatient services

4. Comparisons are between attendees at A&E or inpatients from the group of Mental Health Service users and other attendees at A&E or other inpatients, not from this group.

5. Read this report here:

6. For media enquires please call 0845 257 6990 or email

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