CQC publishes the views of more than 15,000 people using community mental health services

CQC publishes the views of more than 15,000 people using community mental health services

13 September 2012

A survey of people who use mental health services, published today (13 September) by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) shows that there are still some people whose experience of care needs to improve, especially around areas such as help with physical health and day-to-day living.

The 2012 survey of people who use mental health services asks about the experiences of more than 15,000 people during the past 12 months. The questionnaires were sent out by 61 NHS mental health trusts in England.

People were asked about the care and support they received from mental health services outside hospital, such as those offered by outpatient clinics, local teams providing crisis home treatment, assertive outreach, early intervention for psychosis, and generic community mental health services.

Where possible, this year’s results have been compared with last year’s.

In line with last year’s survey, most people responded positively to questions about the health or social care worker they saw most recently, with the majority saying they ‘definitely’ had enough time to discuss their condition and treatment, that the health or social care worker took their views into account and treated them with respect and dignity.

There were improvements in aspects of crisis care, with more respondents saying they had the number of someone to call in their local NHS mental health service outside office hours, increasing from 58% in 2011 to 60% in 2012. Of those who called the number, 50% ‘definitely’ got the help they needed and 30% did ‘to some extent’. However almost a fifth (17%) of those who called this number said that they did not get the help that they needed and 3% could not get through to anyone.

Improved physical health for people with mental health problems is one of one of the objectives in the national policy (‘No Health Without Mental Health’). However 36% of respondents who needed support from someone in NHS mental health services with getting help for their physical health needs said that they had not received support but would have liked it, up from 31% in 2011.

People who have complex mental health needs and require multi-agency support are cared for within a framework called the Care Programme Approach (CPA). Policy guidance states that people who are on the CPA should also receive support with day-to-day matters such as employment, housing and financial advice.

Forty-two per cent of respondents to the survey were on the CPA. Of those who were on the CPA and said they needed support with day-to-day living in the last year:

  • 34% said they had not received support from anyone in NHS mental health services in getting help with finding or keeping work, such as being referred to an employment scheme, but would have liked this.
  • 27 % said they had received no support from anyone in mental health services in getting help with finding or keeping their accommodation but would have liked this.
  • 26 % said they had not been given any support from anyone in mental health services in getting help with financial advice or benefits but would have liked this.

For those respondents not on CPA, whilst the focus is on clinical needs rather than providing support for a wider range of needs policy guidelines state that they should receive a full assessment, ‘including risk assessment’. The survey shows some quite large discrepancies between the two groups with around half of respondents who needed support from someone in NHS mental health services saying that they did not get help, but would have liked it, with:  finding or keeping work (51%), finding or keeping their accommodation (49%) and financial advice or benefits (47%)

For respondents who are on CPA, there has been a decrease in the proportion who say that they do not have a care plan (13%, an improvement from 16% in 2011) and a corresponding increase in the proportion who say that they ‘definitely’ understand their care plan (48%, up from 44% in 2011). For those not on CPA, two fifths continue to say that they do not have a care plan (40%) and there has been a decrease in the proportion who say that they ‘definitely’ understand what is in their care plan (27%, a decrease from 29% in 2011).

David Behan, CQC chief executive, said:

“Whilst there is evidence of progress for example in the way people are listened to there is more to do. One of the objectives in the policy ‘No Health Without Mental Health’ is that more people with mental health problems will have good physical health. The fact that this survey has shown some people who need this support are not getting access to this, and other support for aspects of day to day living such as employment, housing and financial advice is something the NHS need to address.”

“Trusts should look at these results carefully and consider whether, firstly, they are assessing people’s needs properly in the context of the CPA policy, and secondly, whether they are giving them the appropriate level of support.”

Ends

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