As part of the shift towards community care, a number of the large mental hospitals throughout the United Kingdom have now closed and many more are due for closure. In a review of deinstitutionalisation, Thornicroft & Bebbington (1989) concluded that the run-down of hospitals was outstripping the provision of new community facilities. Between 1974 and 1984 the mental hospital population fell by 25,000. However, the increase in residential places provided by local authorities and by the private and voluntary sectors totalled only 3,000. Inadequate planning and provision could give rise to discharged patients facing the prospect of isolated, segregated and impoverished lives with a high likelihood of homelessness and recurrent admission.
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