WORCESTERSHIRE’S main provider of mental health services has affirmed its commitment to caring for people as close to home as possible following a national report claiming too many patients were being sent to hospital.

The report by mental health charity Rethink claimed the NHS could save millions if more people suffering from mental illnesses were cared for in the community rather than in hospital.

But Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust – which runs adult mental health services throughout the county – is ahead of the curve and has been operating in this manner for a number of years.

Recent figures show 22 per cent more people were successfully cared for in their own homes by the trust in 2013/14 compared to the previous year and 35 per cent fewer patients being cared for by home treatment teams needed to be admitted to psychiatric hospital in the same period.

The trust’s adult mental health lead Mark Dickens said: “If we can we always look to treat people at home or within their local community because it is usually of the greatest benefit to them rather than taking them out of their comfort zone and admitting them to a ward.

“Patients tell us they want to be cared for at home and there is real evidence that people’s recovery can be accelerated when given the right care for them in the most appropriate place, and that is often in a familiar environment.”

The report also showed it costs about £13 a day to treat someone with psychosis or schizophrenia in the community, but £350 a day to keep them in hospital.

Health minister Norman Lamb described this way of working as “the best option” as it means those suffering from mental illnesses are cared for in familiar surroundings among loved ones.

"Not only do they benefit from being in familiar surroundings among loved ones but they are less likely to need costly hospital stays," he said.

The charity also warned government cuts mean patients have less access to early-intervention methods of treatment such as talking therapies.

For more information on Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust visit www.hacw.nhs.uk.