Mental health services under intolerable pressure
20 July 2017
- Care Quality Commission publishes The State of Care in Mental Health Services.
- Report highlights concerns over variance and access to services in particular child and adolescent mental health services
- We say while we welcome extra funding and new initiatives, it is clear that core mental health services are coming under intolerable pressure.
The Care Quality Commission has published The state of care in mental health services 2014 to 2017.
The report is based on the findings of its comprehensive inspection programme of specialist mental health services.
The report highlights that nearly all NHS and independent services were rated good or outstanding for having caring and compassionate staff.
However, the report highlighted areas of concern including:
- Too much variation in both quality and access to services, including long waiting times in community child and adolescent mental health services.
- Care that is over-restrictive and institutional in nature
- Poor recording and sharing of information
The report references our own findings that fewer than one in three mental health chairs and chief executives were confident they have enough staff to deliver existing services. It also highlights the difficulty for trusts to recruit mental health nurses and psychiatrists.
Responding to the report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) “The State of Care in Mental Health Services” the director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:
“We welcome this report which sets out the extraordinary challenges trusts face in caring for people with mental health needs.
We strongly endorse the praise in this report for caring and compassionate staff.
“In particular it highlights concerns over growing demand, workforce gaps and funding difficulties, citing as evidence the survey findings published in our recent report 'The State of the NHS Provider Sector'.
“It also rightly commends the many examples of excellent care and services. We strongly endorse the praise in this report for caring and compassionate staff.
“However while we are undoubtedly seeing some welcome extra funding and new initiatives, it is clear that core mental health services are coming under intolerable pressure.
“This is having a worrying impact on access and waiting times – which mean that people have to be more unwell and wait longer before they receive treatment, so their condition may deteriorate further. This is a particular concern for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) where demand and workforce pressures are especially severe.
While we are undoubtedly seeing some welcome extra funding and new initiatives, it is clear that core mental health services are coming under intolerable pressure.
“Safety is paramount. The CQC has identified a number of issues that must be addressed, including people being detained inappropriately, unsuitable buildings, staff shortages and inadequate training.
“These are fundamental requirements for a decent service.
“We welcome the repeated commitments from the very top of government to address the injustices faced by people with mental health problems, and we hope this report will provide renewed impetus towards improving their experience so they receive the care they need and deserve.”