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Mental Patients

Volume 100: debated on Wednesday 25 June 1986

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asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) how many patients were released into the community from mental hospitals in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985;(2) how many patients released into the community from mental hospitals subsequently committed suicide in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1985;

I regret that I cannot give the hon. Member all the information he seeks. Information on numbers of patients discharged into the community is not collected centrally in precisely the form requested, and there is no centrally available data on the numbers of people who commit suicide after discharge from hospital.Statistics of the total number of discharges (including transfers) from mental illness and mental handicap hospitals and units are available in the series of DHSS booklets "Mental Health Statistics for England", copies of which are in the Library. However, the statistics show that the great majority of discharges follow length of stay of less than six months, usually for short-term care and treatment or family respite. An indication of the number of people who have been settled in the community after, in effect, living in hospital, is given in the table. Some of these people may require to be readmitted for a time, for example because of changes in their condition.

Discharges*from mental illness and mental handicap hospitals and units in England after durations of stay of 5 years or more.
YearMental IllnessMental handicap
1980804657
1981818764
1982733764
1983821967
19849811,375
1985
* Excludes transfer to other NHS hospitals and Special Hospitals.
† Not yet available.

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received concerning the incidence of suicide amongst patients released into the community from mental hospitals.

Apart from two enquiries about the incidence of suicide amongst patients discharged from mental hospitals, we have received no representations on this subject.