Skip Navigation
Search site

This is our old website. Most information can now be found on our new NHS Digital website. Let us know what you think.

Inpatients in mental health wards experiencing long stays in hospital

More than half of the 23,600 inpatients on mental health wards had been in hospital for 117 days or more on 31 March 20142,3, according to a report published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

27 November 2014

*HSCIC must be quoted as the source of these figures

*Regional figures are available

The Mental Health Bulletin shows that for every 100 occupied beds, fewer than one person is discharged per day (0.7). The fact that so many inpatients are spending months in hospital reduces hospitals' capacity to accept new admissions.

As well as the special feature on the length of hospital stay for people in contact with mental health services, the report also found that:

  • The number of people in contact with mental health services rose by 9.8 per cent - 1.75m in 2013/14, rising from 1.60m in 2012/13
  • 6.0 per cent of people in contact with mental health services (105,300) spent some time as a hospital inpatient during 2013/14. In 2012/13 this figure was 6.6 per cent (105,200).
  • The median length of stay for people who had been discharged from mental health inpatient services during 2013/14 was 23 days.

HSCIC chair Kingsley Manning said: "This report shows that there is an increase in the number of people accessing specialist mental health services across all secondary care settings and many inpatients are staying in hospital for long periods.

"Understanding more about the experiences of patients using mental health services is important to support the NHS in planning for the future."

View the full report 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). It is England's trusted data source, delivering high quality information and IT systems to drive better patient services, care and outcomes. Its work includes publishing more than 220 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. Length of stay is calculated as a median, the middle number in a range of values ordered in ascending or descending value, as the median is less skewed by extreme values (very long or very short length of stay).

3. Many of the people in hospital on the 31st March 2014 were detained under the Mental Health Act; this may contribute to longer lengths of stay. Our monthly MHMDS report for March 2014 published on 20th June 2014 showed that 11,400 people were detained in hospital in adult mental health services at the end of the month.

4. Numbers of patients over 1,000 have been rounded to the nearest 100.  Numbers over one million have been rounded to the nearest 50,000. Percentages are presented to one decimal point. 

5. For media enquiries please contact or 0300 30 33 888.

Close iCM Form