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 - 2019/20).

Main points

  • 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 with 2019/20 having the lowest number of discharges (819) over the 23 years for which there is data. This reflects changes in service delivery, moving away from long term hospital care towards more community based care.
Image caption Discharges from the Learning Disability specialty in Scotland, 1997/98 - 2019/20
Discharges from the Learning Disability specialty in Scotland, 1997/98 - 2019/20
  • Respite care, rather than treatment, was the main reason that people with learning disabilities were admitted to psychiatric hospitals between 2014/15 and 2019/20 (over six out of ten admissions).
  • 72% of the discharges from the Learning Disability specialty between 2014/15 and 2019/20 were in the under 25 age group; the number of discharges then tails off sharply as age increases.
  • In the period 2014/15 - 2019/20, people with a learning disability who lived in the most deprived areas were 2.7 times more likely to experience an episode of inpatient care in the Learning Disability specialty compared to those living in the least deprived areas.
  • 55% of patients treated in the Learning Disability specialty between 2014/15 and 2019/20 were male.

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 (external website), but then became a standalone publication (external website) in December 2019, accompanied by open data.

Further information

Find out more in the full report. Data from this publication are available from the Learning Disability publication page.

The information in this publication is also available as open data, this can be found on our open data platform (external website).

For related topics, please see the mental health section of the Data and Intelligence website (external website).

The next release of this publication will be late 2021.

General enquiries

If you have an enquiry relating to this publication, please email Suzanne.Hill@phs.scot.

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

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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: 14 July 2021
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