Thursday, 21 April 2016

Far from home

To accompany #7daysofaction (see here for more details and heartbreaking stories https://theatuscandal.wordpress.com/ ), this week I’m writing a series of short blogposts looking at the statistics we have about inpatient services for people with learning disabilities in England. One thing that people and families talk about is how hard it is if someone is moved to an inpatient service a long way from home and family.

This post takes a look at information from the Learning Disability Census from 2013 to 2015 (in earlier Count Me In censuses postcodes weren’t stored in a way that allowed this analysis to be done) (see here http://www.hscic.gov.uk/searchcatalogue?productid=19718&q=learning+disability+census+2013&sort=Most+recent&size=100&page=1#top and here http://www.hscic.gov.uk/searchcatalogue?productid=20487&q=learning+disability+census+2013&sort=Most+recent&size=100&page=1#top ) about how far the inpatient units that people were living in were from their home. These analyses use postcode information and are distances as the crow flies, so these distances will underestimate the actual distances people and families have to travel (and the associated time, cost and stress).

The graph below shows the number of people in inpatient units at various distances from their home postcode in September 2013, 2014 and 2015. From 2013 to 2015, the average distance from home has increased (60.5km in 2013; 66.2km in 2015) as has the median (where half of the people in inpatient units are more than this distance from home) (34.5km in 2013; 38.6km in 2015). The reason the average is so much higher than the median is in the appropriately named mathematical term ‘negative skew’ – some people are living so far away from home (more than 100km can be a lot more than 100km) that it bumps up the average distance for everyone.



Some of the changes from 2013 to 2015 might be because the number of people where the distance was ‘unknown’ (unknown by the people providing the service??? but anyway...) has dropped over time, so it might be that these newly known distances are for people living in inpatient services further away from home.

Even so, it can hardly be a good sign that the number of people in inpatient services more than 100km from home increased, from 570 people in 2013 to 670 people in 2015 – that’s almost a quarter (22%) of all people in inpatient services. This is almost as many people as the 715 people (24%) who live within 10km of their home postcode. It’s also, I would think, a very bad sign that more than two-fifths (42%) of under-18s in inpatient services were more than 100km from home.


I’m running out of things to say at the end of these posts. The Health and Social Information Centre collect all these statistics, presumably NHS England and others pore over them on a regular basis, and yet…


5 comments:

  1. Thanks as always Chris. You are a role model,
    Jan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Steady on there Jan - you won't be saying that when I'm papped in the gutter staggering out of an Ovaltine bar sometime after 9pm (we know how to have a good time in Kendal...)

      Delete
    2. Steady on there Jan - you won't be saying that when I'm papped in the gutter staggering out of an Ovaltine bar sometime after 9pm (we know how to have a good time in Kendal...)

      Delete
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