Medical Practice

Whither Psychiatric Day Care? A Study of Day Patients in Birmingham

Br Med J 1973; 1 doi: (Published 13 January 1973) Cite this as: Br Med J 1973;1:94
  1. D. H. Gath,
  2. Christine Hassall,
  3. K. W. Cross


    A survey was made of the 647 patients attending the seven psychiatric day hospitals in Birmingham during a single census week, and of their patterns of attendance in day-care over the following 12 months. Marked differences were found between the day patients (583) attending the four large, traditional hospitals, and those (64) attending three small, relatively modern units. Patients attending the large hospitals were older, included the majority of schizophrenics, and carried a greater morbidity as measured by the frequency and duration of previous psychiatric care. At the end of the follow-up period 64% of patients attending the large hospitals were still in day care as against only 2 patients attending small hospital units.

    It is suggested that the results have important implications for the planning of future mental health services in that they highlight the extent to which different groups of patients have different requirements. A large proportion of the day hospital population had long-term needs which might be difficult to meet in the proposed general hospital units.

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