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"Revolving door psychiatry" increases admissions

A study commissioned by the Swiss Health Observatory (Obsan) has revealed that the number of inpatient psychiatric admissions has risen by 9.3 per cent since 2002.

Obsan said on Friday that the number of treated patients had remained constant, at approximately 50,000 people per year. There had been a 30 per cent increase in patient readmissions but hospital stays had become shorter.

A relatively small proportion of people accounted for a large proportion of readmissions, it said and warned of "revolving door psychiatry", in which patients are discharged too early, only to return for treatment.

Obsan said the most common inpatient illness was depression, which accounted for 21 per cent of all diagnoses. Alcohol abuse accounted for 16 per cent, schizophrenia for nine per cent and other substance abuse issues for an additional nine per cent.

The agency warned of a worsening social integration of psychiatric patients; the number working full-time or part-time had declined from 26.4 per cent to 20.6 per cent.

The study took into account 485,000 cases from 2000 to 2006 but analysts only had complete numbers from 2002 onward, Obsan said.


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