Press Releases

Stress and anxiety related hospital admissions costing taxpayer £71.1m

New analysis shows 165,000 bed days per year used by those with stress & anxiety

New analysis from the New Economics Foundation shows how elements of our economy are causing increased stress and therefore increasing cost to and strain on the NHS. The analysis finds that there were 17,500 episodes where stress or anxiety was the primary cause for hospital admission and shows that this led to 165,800 days where beds were occupied due to stress or anxiety, at a cost to the taxpayer of £71.1 million.

Further analysis shows that:

  • Housing and stress: As Shelter has found one in five English adults surveyed said a housing issue had negatively impacted upon their mental health in the last five years, and one in 20 said they had gone to their GP in the last five years with a stress-related housing issue. This costs the NHS £17.6 million per year.
  • Work and stress: 526,000 workers suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/​17 leading to 12.5 million working days lost. This leads to lost output for employers and the self-employed of £33.4 — £43.0 billion per year, and lost tax/​national insurance revenue to the public purse of £10.8 — £14.4 billion per year.
  • Debt and stress: NEF has previously found that four in 10 British adults are worried about their level of debt.

Sarah Arnold, Researcher at New Economics Foundation said:

The UK is facing a mental health crisis and it is largely due to our broken economic system. As more and more people are struggling with the pressure of debt, insecure housing, insecure work and a lack of support, the number of people dealing with stress and anxiety is only likely to increase.

We need to build a new economy that works for everyone and allows us to flourish rather than burdening us with stress. “


Sofie Jenkinson,, 07981023031

Notes to editors

The full analysis will be available to read here on Friday 17th May

The cost to the taxpayer of £71.1m based on the 165,000+ bed days used by those with stress and anxiety assumes a cost per bed day of £429.

Bed days are rounded to the nearest 100.

The data on hospital admissions were taken from the hospital episode statistics from the Health and Social care Information Centre.

Admissions’ refers to the total number of finished admission episodes including emergency admissions. Please note that these data should not be described as a count of people as the same person may have been admitted or treated on more than one occasion.

The codes used within this press release are available under the primary diagnosis section (ICD-10), as used by the NHS (eg. see here: and are:

F43.9 Reaction to severe stress, unspecified
Z73.3 Stress, not elsewhere classified
F43.0 Acute stress reaction
F43.1 Post-traumatic stress disorder
F43.2 Adjustment disorders
F43.8 Other reactions to severe stress

F06.4 Organic anxiety disorder
F40 Phobic anxiety disorders
F41 Other anxiety disorders
F93.0 Separation anxiety disorder of childhood
F93.1 Phobic anxiety disorder of childhood
F93.2 Social anxiety disorder of childhood

This analysis does not take into account the number of bed days of the 165,800 that would have been required in the absence of a stress or anxiety episode (ie. the probability of the same person going to hospital anyway due to a co-morbidity). However, we only consider cases in our costing where stress was the primary rather than a secondary cause for admission and thus it underestimates cases where stress was any kind of factor.

The NHS does not release unit cost data on one bed day in a hospital, but the bed day cost of £429 comes from freedom of information requests by the Citizens Commission for Human Rights (http://​www​.cchr​.org​.uk/​l​a​t​e​s​t​-​n​e​w​s​/​c​o​s​t​-​d​e​t​a​i​n​e​d​-​p​s​y​c​h​i​a​t​r​i​c​-​w​a​r​d​-​t​r​e​ated/)

The cost of people going to their GP with stress inducing by their housing situation uses Shelter’s figure that one in 20 people have visited to their GP in the last five years and then converted into costs by applying to adult population (43.5 million English adults (ONS) and using PSSRU unit costs (£37 per GP appointment) (PSSRU) and assuming GP appointments are evenly distributed over the five years for GP appointment.

£33.4 — £43.0 billion per year for employers and the self-employed and lost tax/​national insurance revenue to the public purse of £10.8 — £14.4 billion per year.

All costs are in 2016/​17 prices

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