South London and Maudsley Foundation Trust has spent £3.1m since last April for basic bed and breakfast places, and spaces with a specialist housing association, to ease his bed shortage pressures.
The mental health trust told HSJ that clinicians were often reluctant to discharge patients to street homelessness, and that people with mental health problems can be more challenging to find accommodation for.
The trust’s chief executive officer David Bradley told HSJ system leaders had been asked to think “innovatively” about how to mitigate discharge problems. B&Bs are generally a cheaper and more appropriate alternative to a £500 a night mental health hospital bed for people who don’t need acute treatment and have no housing, he said.
SLaM board papers show that in addition to the £3.1m, the trust had spent a further £7m on private sector mental health inpatient beds, taking it £6.4m over its planned budget for this overspill capacity. It has a target of zero private overspill occupied bed days but has seen 1,356 so far this financial year.
It comes amid signs of a surge in some mental health demand caused by the pandemic, and widely covered discharge problems in the acute sector which are also often linked to social care and housing delays.
The trust said some of the £2.9m B&B figure was spent with Certitude, a specialist housing association which had 36 places available for patients to be discharged to. Certitude works to try to help people back into other accommodation.
Fast track Phil
Phil Wood has been named as the man who will step into the large footprints left by Sir Julian Hartley as CEO of Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust.
Following Sir Julian’s innings of nearly a decade, Mr Wood could be seen as a relatively inexperienced successor – he joined as chief medical officer only in 2020, admittedly becoming deputy chief executive shortly afterwards – to be taking over at a time when the trust is awaiting decisions by the government on new hospitals funding.
The choice to go with internal continuity contrasts with the recent appointment by another giant, Manchester FT, of external candidate Mark Cubbon.
Mr Wood will assume the CEO post on 1 February, replacing Sir Julian, who is leaving to become the chief executive of NHS Providers.
LTHT is among the NHS’s five largest trusts, and has more than 17,000 whole-time equivalent staff.
Sir Julian has been CEO at Leeds for nearly 10 years, during which it saw improvements in staff satisfaction and engagement and put a focus on care quality improvement, and system collaboration.