hscicThe number of people with learning disabilities who are resident in assessment and treatment units (ATUs) fell slightly in the previous quarter, although more than 2,300 people are still living in one, according to new figures.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed that at the end of March, 2,395 people with learning disabilities were inpatients. In the three months to the end of March, 105 people were admitted to hospital, while 180 were discharged. In addition, 25 people were admitted and discharged.

However, it should be noted that the data is incomplete as the HSCIC only had responses from 165 clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) – 47 CCGs did not provide data for this quarter and a further 9 have never submitted data. In addition, only data for February and March were available. Prior to this NHS England collected data. This was not included in the analysis by the HSCIC due to methodology changes.

This figure is remarkably consistent with the figure for March 2014, when just over 2,500 were resident in an ATU.

Of the 2,395, 110 were aged under 18, with the majority – 1,225 – aged 18-34. Only 40 inpatients were aged over 65. The vast majority of inpatients (1,850) were male. Most were registered as only having a learning disability (1,470 inpatients), with a further 540 described as having a learning disability and autism. The vast majority of inpatients (2,110) were subject to the Mental Health Act.

Also, 47% have been inpatients for more than 2 years – with 6% having been inpatients for 10 or more years.

A little over half of inpatients – 1,205 – have a set date for transfer back to the community. Of those, just over 50% have a date set within the next 12 months.

The figures also revealed that 1,480 were said to need inpatient treatment according to their care plan, with 510 of those listed as ‘not dischargable’. Of those 915 who were judged in their treatment plan to not need inpatient care, 830 were working towards a discharge, with the remaining 85 experiencing a delayed transfer of care.

There is also evidence that many people are still placed in ATUs out-of-area, with 19% living in a hospital more than 100 kilometres from their home. A further 18% are in institutions between 50 and 100 kilometres from home.