Mental Health Services: Hospital Wards

Health written question – answered on 10th February 2010.

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Photo of Natascha Engel Natascha Engel Labour, North East Derbyshire

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) how many bed days on adult psychiatric wards were recorded for patients aged under 16 years in each quarter of the last three years;

(2) how many bed days on adult psychiatric wards were recorded for patients aged 16 and 17 years in each quarter of the last three years.

Photo of Phil Hope Phil Hope Minister of State (the East Midlands), Regional Affairs, Minister of State (the East Midlands), Department of Health

The table gives figures for the number of bed days for children on Child and Adolescent Mental Health (CAMHS) wards and for children aged under 16 and 16-17 on adult mental health wards.

Bed days
Quarter Under 18s on CAMHS ward Under 16s on adult ward 16/17s on adult ward
2006-07 1 34,609 75 4,697
2 28,171 25 4,780
3 34,430 38 4,679
4 39,409 53 4,511
2007-08 1 38,359 81 3,954
2 37,935 112 3,893
3 41,184 49 4,255
4 40,072 133 4,926
2008-09 1 37,003 16 4,019
2 36,973 4 3,713
3 39,534 0 2,854
4 42,065 3 3,101
2009-10 1 37,041 23 2,415
2 43,389 9 1,624

For 2008-09 onwards it is not mandatory for national health Service foundation trusts to submit returns but many do so on a voluntary basis.

The Government remain committed to reducing the number of bed days for under 16s on adult psychiatric wards to zero. The number of bed days for 16 and 17-year-olds on adult psychiatric wards has fallen in preparation for the commencement of section 31(3) (accommodation, etc) of the Mental Health Act 2007 in England on 1 April 2010.

The Mental Health Act 2007 (Commencement No. 11) Order 2010 (SI 2010 No. 143), which commences section 31(3) in England and Wales on 1 April 2010, was signed on 16 January 2010. This provision, which extends to England and Wales, places a duty on hospital managers to ensure that patients aged under 18 are treated in an environment in hospital which is suitable having regard to their age (subject to their needs).

The hospital manager has to consult a person who appears to them to have knowledge or experience of cases involving patients who have not attained the age of 18. This provision applies to voluntary (informal) patients as well as formal (detained under mental health legislation) patients.

It is important to note that section 31(3) is designed to end the inappropriate placement of under 18s on adult psychiatric wards but does not bar under 18s from being treated on such wards. There can be circumstances where an adult psychiatric ward is an appropriate place for an under 18 to be treated. Examples include overriding emergency and atypical where the adult psychiatric ward is the most appropriate placement for clinical or social reasons.

A number of best practice products have been produced to support local areas prepare and these are at:

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