This report explores the pressures on inpatient mental health services across Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships in England, drawing on a wide range of datasets, published research and interviews with staff working on mental health services. The report was commissioned by and includes a response from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Inpatient services form a critical component of mental health provision, providing clinicians with a means of rapidly reducing the risk of suicide, self-harm and harm to others and an environment in which complex treatment regimens can be safely initiated and calibrated.

In 2015, the Royal College of Psychiatrists established an independent commission in response to concerns about the provision of acute inpatient psychiatric services. The Commission, chaired by Lord Nigel Crisp, found that many people were unable to access high-quality acute care when needed.

The commission made twelve recommendations which were widely endorsed.

Whilst some progress has been made in the four years since the commission reported its conclusions, concerns about the capacity of inpatient mental health services remain. This report reviews the current situation relating to mental health bed capacity, drawing on an analysis of the data, interviews and surveys with members of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and a review of the latest evidence.


The report was commissioned by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in December 2018 for publication in Autumn 2019.