The number of people subject to restrictions under the Mental Health Act in England has risen by five per cent in a year.
Just over twenty thousand people (20,038) were subject to the Act in England on March 31 2011; a rise of 991 since March 31 2010 according to today's report, which looks at those formally detained in hospital or supervised with a community treatment order.
The figures suggest that this is due to a larger number of people being supervised under community treatment orders, according to the report entitled In-patients formally detained in hospitals under the Mental Health Act 1983 and patients subject to supervised community treatment, Annual figures, England, 2010/11.
At 31 March 2011, 4,291 people were subject to an order (CTO); almost thirty per cent higher than at March 31 2010 (3,325). For two consecutive years, the number of new CTOs was greater than the number ended during the year and this suggests that some people remain on a CTO for more than a year.
The report also shows that formal admissions to hospital fell slightly compared to the previous year. In 2010/11, there were 30,092 formal admissions, a 2.2 per cent decrease compared to 2009/10 (30,774). The report suggests this slight reduction could be linked to the use of CTOs.
NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said:
“Today's report suggests that community treatment orders have been used on a significant scale since their introduction in 2008, to care for people with mental health issues outside of a hospital environment.
“This information is important in monitoring the use of the Mental Health Act in this country, and I am pleased to say that we hope to further increase the depth of information available on this important subject in future reports. This is due to a change of data source, as proposed following the Secretary of State's Fundamental Review of Data Returns.
“A consultation on changes to the report is planned to be open for three months from early January 2012 and I would encourage people to take part; helping ensure we can make future reports even more useful and answer the broader and more detailed questions around the use of the Mental Health Act.”