Care Quality Commission have published a briefing looking at mental health rehabilitation inpatient services, including ward types, bed numbers and use by clinical commissioning groups and NHS trusts, which has found that people in rehabilitation services for serious mental health conditions are more likely to be placed ‘out of area’ and far from their home.
Working in collaboration with NHS England and NHS Improvement, CQC asked providers about the mental health rehabilitation inpatient services that they manage and found:
- Nearly two thirds (63%) of placements in residential-based mental health rehabilitation services are ‘out of area’, which means they are in different regions to the clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) that arranged them
- There is very wide variation between CCG areas in the use of rehabilitation beds, and in the use of beds that are out of area
- This is a costly element of provision. We estimate that the annual expenditure on mental health rehabilitation beds is about £535 million. Out of area placements account for about two-thirds of this expenditure
In response to these findings, CQC have recommended that the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement agree a plan to engage local health and care systems in a programme of work to reduce the number of patients placed in mental health rehabilitation wards that are out of area.