The numbers of people being detained under the Mental Health Act rose by 1,692 in the last financial year according to figures published by the NHS information centre.
The 3.5% increase brings the total people detained under the act to just under 50,000 in one year and represents the largest increase in three years.
The total numbers admitted to hospital also increased to 30,774 in 2009-10, a 7.3% increase from 2008-9. The rise was attributed to an increase in admissions to NHS hospitals, while previous increases have been driven by private sector treatment.
Steve Shrubb, director of the NHS Confederation’s Mental Health network, said: “Detention in hospital does not necessarily mean ‘failure’ either of community or hospital services and will often be the most clinically appropriate response at a time of acute crisis.”
The figures also showed community treatment orders (CTOs) continued to be issued at a high rate with 4,103 issued in 2009-10.
Of more than 6,000 CTOs issued since their introduction in November 2008 only 32% have been ended.
Mental health professionals have had concerns about CTO usage since the numbers far outstripped government expectations in their first year. The government expected 350-400 to be issued between November 2008 and April 2009 but instead more than 2,000 were issued.
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