About this release

This release by Public Health Scotland (PHS) provides long-term trend information on patients with learning disabilities that were treated in Scottish psychiatric hospitals (1997/98 - 2021/22).

Main points

  • The number of patient discharges from the Learning Disability specialty fell sharply from around 4,700 in 1997/98 to around 1,700 in 2005/06. The decrease continues gradually until 2020/21 (320). This reflects changes in service delivery, moving away from long term hospital care towards more community based care. Patient discharges increased slightly between 2020/21 and 2021/22 to 401, which may represent a return to anticipated activity levels following relaxation of measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Image caption Discharges from the Learning Disability specialty in Scotland, 1997/98 – 2021/22
  • The majority of admissions in the Learning Disability specialty (just under six out of ten admissions) between 2016/17 and 2021/22 were for respite care, rather than treatment.
  • 69.2% of the discharges from the Learning Disability specialty between 2016/17 and 2021/22 were for people under the age of 25; the number of discharges reduces sharply as age increases.
  • People with a learning disability who lived in the most deprived areas were 2.8 times more likely to experience an episode of inpatient care in the Learning Disability specialty between 2016/17 and 2021/22 compared to those living in the least deprived areas.
  • Over 99% of discharges from the Learning Disability specialty for this period were regular discharges. Less than 1% of discharges were irregular or discharges where the patient was deceased.
  • 72.6% of stays in the Learning Disability specialty for this period were between 1-7 days, and 12.3% were longer than 90 days.

Background

This publication relates to learning disability patients receiving inpatient care in mental health (psychiatric) hospitals. This information was previously published within the Hospital inpatient care of people with mental health problems in Scotland report, but then became a standalone publication in December 2019, accompanied by open data.

Further information

The next release of this publication will be 23 January 2024.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please contact phs.mentalhealth@phs.scot.

Media enquiries

If you have a media enquiry relating to this publication, please contact the Communications and Engagement team.

Requesting other formats and reporting issues

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Older versions of this publication

Versions of this publication released before 16 March 2020 may be found on the Data and Intelligence, Health Protection Scotland or Improving Health websites.

Last updated: 27 January 2023
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