Journal Article

On the Inside: A Narrative Review of Mental Health Inpatient Services

Jon Glasby and Helen Lester

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 35, issue 6, pages 863-879
Published in print September 2005 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online August 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI:
On the Inside: A Narrative Review of Mental Health Inpatient Services

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This paper describes and discusses the results of a narrative review of inpatient mental health services in the UK. Four main themes emerge from the review: the growing pressure on inpatient hospital services; the negative experience of inpatient services reported by many service users; the problematic nature of hospital discharge; and possible alternatives to hospital admission. This review also suggests that a failure to recognize and act on what appears to be happening in hospitals could result in inpatient care once again being subject to the scrutiny and criticism that cast a shadow over psychiatric services in the 1960s and 1970s. To stop this happening, current government policy is right to focus attention back onto acute care through new guidance and by commissioning research. However, changes also need to take place at a practice level so that front line workers are familiar with conditions in local acute services and can challenge unacceptable behaviour/services in support of their service users. With current changes in the make-up of local mental health services and a greater emphasis on partnership working between health and social care, it may be that social care practitioners can do this not only from the outside, but increasingly ‘on the inside’ (from within integrated health and social care organizations).

Keywords: Mental health; acute inpatient care; hospital admission; hospital discharge

Journal Article.  7623 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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