Go to main content
BPS News

The compassionate care praised by the Care Quality Commission report requires investment

21 July 2017

Some mental health services are responding positively to unprecedented challenges, but others must move away from outdated care that leaves people “helpless and powerless”.

Some mental health services are responding positively to unprecedented challenges, but others must move away from outdated care that leaves people “helpless and powerless”.

That is the message of the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC) comprehensive inspection programme of specialist mental health services over the last three years. The resultant report gives the most complete picture ever drawn of the quality of mental health provision for people in England.

Inspectors found many examples of excellent care, but they also found too much poor care and far too much variation in both quality and access across different services.

This is particularly concerning given the increasing demand for mental health services.  People are being encouraged to seek help and stigma is lessening, meaning more people want to access services. 

The variability of service provision however means that more people risk receiving care that is not good enough - or no care at all.

Around two thirds of services were rated good or better.  Most services were found to be caring and some types of community service particularly shone. 

However, looking across all care settings, the report identifies several areas of concern, including restrictive practices, safety and patient clinical information systems. 

There are some 3500 beds in locked mental health rehabilitation wards, with two-thirds managed in the independent sector. These wards are often situated a long way from the patient's home, meaning that people are isolated from their friends and families. 

The QCQ highlights concern that some of these wards were in fact long-stay wards that risk institutionalising patients, rather than a step on the road back to a more independent life in the person’s home community.

Nicola Gale, President of the British Psychological Society, said:

“This CQC report shows that while there are services which shine and most are caring, far too many people treated by mental health services are receiving inadequate care.

The British Psychological Society wants to see a continued shift away from mental health services which are overly restrictive, unsafe, in unsuitable premises and short of staff to ones that are recovery- and community-based and promote social inclusion. 

If the government is to achieve its ambition of achieving parity of esteem between mental and physical health then there must be proper investment in a skilled and appropriately trained psychological workforce to deliver the compassionate care that CQC praise, with service leadership that empowers and enables staff to work at their full potential.

The Society endorses the call for Commissioners to learn from those services that are getting it right, and challenge those described as ‘rooted in the past’.”

You can read the full report on the CQC website.

Topics

Top of page