Fewer South Africans were admitted into hospital with psychiatric conditions last year than the previous 12 months, according to the latest Profmed Psychiatric Report for 2014, partly attributed to the utilisation of Centres of Excellence.

Profmed, the medical scheme catering exclusively for graduate professionals, found that the number of hospital admissions fell by 8.6% in 2014.

However, Graham Anderson, Principal Officer and CEO at Profmed, noted that the length of stay (LOS) that these patients experienced remained relatively stable during the same period. “Most patients were admitted into the National Hospital Network (NHN), which brings together all independently-owned private hospitals in South Africa under one umbrella, with an average LOS of 9.2 days.”

In contrast, the average LOS for patients admitted into the independent hospital network was significantly higher at 19.5 days.

“We believe that the reduced LOS that patients experienced in NHN, compared to other hospital groups, is due to the use of Centres of Excellence at these institutions as they combine research, best practice and training within a specific medical field. Treatment is delivered effectively via a holistic team of providers, such as psychiatrists, psychologists and councillors.”

Anderson notes, however, that while the prevalence of mental illness remains relatively constant, reporting on conditions that fall within this bracket is a constant challenge within the current health environment due to some patients not disclosing their condition, which can affect accurate data.

Other conditions:

The study also focused on other psychiatric conditions, including depression and anxiety disorders. Results showed that the number of beneficiaries for conditions excluding schizophrenia and bipolar increased during the period under analysis by 7.3 percent.

“Findings also revealed that an increase in GP visits and a decrease in those of specialists also occurred for members with depression and anxiety disorders.

“The findings from Profmed’s psychiatric report, which takes into account settled claims and those paid out of the psychiatric rule codes, provide us with a deeper insight into the management of our members’ conditions and bring us one step closer to improving the management of their mental health,” concludes Anderson.

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