18 October 2017
A report published today shows a significant
drop in the number of young people with mental illness being
treated in non-specialist wards in Scotland for 2016-17, in a
similar pattern to the previous year.
Over the last two years the number has reduced by around two
The figures have gone from a high of 207 admissions across
Scotland in 2014-15 involving 175 young people, to 71 admissions
involving 66 young people in 2016-17. Most of these admissions were
to adult wards.
In publishing the data, the Mental Welfare Commission welcomed
the change, and the hard work across the country that led to
Dr Gary Morrison, Executive Director (Medical) at the Mental
Welfare Commission, said:
"Children and young people under the age of 18 who need hospital
treatment for mental illness should, wherever possible, be treated
in a specialist unit, designed to care for their age group.
"We have raised concerns in the past when we saw the numbers
going to non-specialist, usually adult wards, rising, and last year
we were glad to see a reversal of that trend.
'This year we saw a further drop in those figures, with lower
admissions in every health board area in Scotland, and marked
reductions in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Tayside, Ayrshire and
Arran, and Grampian.
"We know that services have been working hard across the country
to achieve this change, and we welcome it."
The reasons for the reductions appear to include:
- the stability of staffing in Scotland's three specialist
in-patient units, which are in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee,
together with increased bed capacity,
- improvements to admission and discharge procedures in these
- an expansion of services provided in the community by Child
and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAHMS), particularly their
intensive treatment services.
The report includes two recommendations for change. One asked
for a review of admissions procedures in the three specialist units
to see whether they can improve the out of hours and weekend system
for new referrals.
The other recommendation asked the Scottish Government, together
with health boards, to review the availability of and access to
intensive psychiatric care unit (IPCU) beds nationally for young
A full copy of the report can be found here.
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