The British Journal of Psychiatry
How likely is it that a district health authority can close its large mental hospitals?
L S Levene, L J Donaldson, S Brandon


A cross-sectional survey assessed all 1,087 patients who were in psychiatric beds provided by a large district health authority. The elderly predominated in all length of stay categories, and a high proportion of them had levels of social and physical incapacity which made it unlikely that they could be cared for other than in residential care. A substantial minority of younger patients with a length of stay between one and two years had levels of incapacity which suggested the need for major treatment, rehabilitation, or training efforts. The findings have major implications for Government policy to replace large mental hospitals.