CQC: NHS Community Mental Health Care Improvements Needed

23 Per Cent Of Mental Health Patients Do Not Know Who Is In Charge Of Their Care

18.09.2014

A significant number of patients who use NHS community mental health care services are not getting the best treatment possible, according to a new report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

The healthcare regulator conducted a survey of more than 13,500 people who use these services under the Care Programme Approach (CPA) to find out their views on their effectiveness, finding that one in five (20 per cent) felt they did not have enough contact with mental health professionals to meet their needs.

In addition, it was found that 73 per cent of respondents believed that medical staff always listened to them carefully, while 75 per cent stated that they were always treated with dignity and respect.

Although these are relatively high statistics, it does raise questions about why the remaining 25 per cent or so of patients are not receiving the very best care possible.

Some 23 per cent of respondents said they did not know who exactly was in charge of their mental health care, while the same amount stated they had disagreed with a member of mental health staff about the type of care they would be receiving.

Furthermore, it was revealed that 26 per cent of those involved in the poll had not been invited to a meeting to discuss their psychological needs, how they would be addressed and whether or not treatment was working at any point during the past year.

The CQC also recommends that those receiving care under the CPA should be entitled to advice on housing, employment and finance from mental health services, if they require it.

Survey results showed 31 per cent cited they would like help finding or keeping a home, 32 per cent wanted more help understanding their finances and benefits and 34 per cent said they would like extra support in securing employment.

In a bid to improve the service provided by community mental health care bodies, deputy chief inspector of hospitals at the CQC Dr Paul Lelliott is warning that unless hospitals make significant changes for the better, they could receive poor ratings.

Expert Opinion
This report is the latest in a long line of studies that have highlighted a wide range of concerns regarding the mental health system in the UK, with long waiting times, a lack of access to help and support and a lack of contact between professionals and patients being identified.

“It is vital these latest findings, along with previous reports, are taken into account and investigations are carried out to identify measures that can be implemented to improve the standard of mental health care across the board. All too often we see the devastating impact a lack of help and support for those suffering with mental health issues can have.

“We hope that more is done to ensure those requiring mental health treatment and support are given the help they require and that their needs are regularly assessed. It is vital action is taken to ensure patients receive the help they require and the strain is reduced on the currently overstretched network of support they rely on.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner