DH’s estimate of mental health community orders questioned

The King’s Fund today warned that the government is likely
to have underestimated the number of people with mental health
problems who will be placed on community-based treatment orders if
the draft Mental Health Bill becomes law, writes Clare

The Department of Health has assumed that the number of people
with mental health problems living in the community in England and
Wales under community-based treatment orders over the next 10 to 15
years will be around 1,400.

But the King’s Fund report published today suggests that
it could be as many as several thousand.

“The government assumption that in the first years of the
Act about 10 per cent of the total number of patients who are
currently detained in hospital – about 1,450 people –
will be on community-based treatment orders is not unreasonable, at
least in the short-term,” said Simeon Lawton-Smith, the
report’s author.

“Nevertheless, this is lower than our own expectation and
we believe it underestimates the number of people who will
eventually be placed on such orders,” he added.

He said there was a “strong likelihood” that the
numbers of people placed on compulsory community treatment would
increase year-on-year as this had been the experience of almost all
other countries with similar systems.

“At the heart of this lies a real challenge for mental
health service commissioners and planners who will need to be
prepared to meet the extra demand on their services,” he

‘A Question of Numbers: The potential impact of
community-based treatment orders in England and Wales’ from


More from Community Care

Comments are closed.