Mental Health Failures Must Be Addressed, Expert Demands

Specialist Comments On CQC Report

27.10.2010

Action needs to be taken to improve the quality of mental health care offered at some units following the release of a report by the Care Quality Commission, a specialist at Irwin Mitchell has claimed.

Sarah Head, who offers training in mental health issues and used to be a Mental Health Act Manager for the NHS, commented after the first annual study on the Mental Health Act revealed a marked increase in compulsory detention of mental health service users both in mental health and acute hospitals and an unexpectedly large use of compulsory medication through Community Treatment Orders.

It also revealed concerns that some patients may have had their human rights breached in relation to consent for treatment, with many people denied information and advocacy and a worrying number of service users from black and ethnic minorities being deemed to lack capacity to consent.

Commenting on the findings, Sarah Head said: “It is deeply concerning that this publication highlights continuing reports of unacceptable practice in regards to detained and voluntary patients.

“All service users deserve to receive appropriate treatment and support in the least restrictive manner and with their full engagement in the planning and delivery of care. It is concerning when evidence shows some units are not meeting standards laid down in the Code of Practice.

“I hope NHS commissioners and both NHS and private care providers are fully prepared to take these CQC findings on board, which in turn should help improve quality of mental health care to some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”