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CQC survey reports deteriorating experiences of NHS community mental health services

Health / Mon 31st Oct 2022 am31 09:55am

THE Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published its annual survey of people’s experiences of NHS community mental health services. This year’s survey includes responses from 13,418 people who received treatment for a mental health condition in England between September and November 2021, using NHS community mental health services.

The survey results show people’s experiences remain poor, areas that returned poor results historically have not improved and some have declined further. Access to care has deteriorated; less people are saying they have seen NHS community mental health service services enough to meet their needs and many people have not been told who is in charge of organising their care and services.

Consistent with 2021 results, findings this year showed that people who received their care via telephone, younger people (aged 18-35) and those with more challenging and severe non-psychotic disorders were less likely to report positive experiences. Additionally, CQC analysed 13 questions of key improvement areas, reported on between 2018 to 2022, and found eight showed their lowest result to date with seven moving in a downward trend over the last five years.

However, some of the results show signs of improvement in areas, such as NHS talking therapies received as part of a wider package of care and when people had their care reviewed, they felt included in the decisions made about their care.

The findings include: 

Four in ten (40%) reported not having their care reviewed with NHS mental health services in 12 months
More than a fifth (22%) of people did not get the help they needed from crisis care services
Over a quarter of people (28%) would not know who to contact out of office hours in the NHS if they had a crisis, an increase of 2% since 2021
Almost a third of people (31%) had not been told who is in charge of their care, an increase of three percentage points since 2021
40% of people had ‘definitely’ been seen by an NHS mental health service often enough for their needs, in the past 12 months
88% of people who knew who managed their care, said that this person organised their care ‘very well’ or ‘quite well’.

The survey results have been released for providers to review the experiences of people who use their services and to make improvements where needed. CQC will continue to use the findings as part of its wider monitoring of the quality of mental healthcare in England. 

Chris Dzikiti, Director of Mental Health at CQC said;

“It is hugely concerning that we have seen year on year deterioration in people’s experiences of NHS community mental health services. We have seen how services can adapt rapidly to deal with extreme pressure, but, sadly these are only likely to increase, with typical seasonal pressures amplified by COVID-19 and a cost-of-living crisis that could impact on people’s mental health.

“Poor access to services risks people reaching crisis point, leading to being admitted to environments that don’t support their recovery and risk their mental health deteriorating.

“Longstanding issues need urgent action and innovative planning for the future, and better integration with other supporting services and systems – to ensure people get the right care at the right time. We know staff are doing all they can to provide good care and it is encouraging to see some improvements being made, however, we need to address these issues urgently to ensure people get the support they need.”

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2 Comments for CQC survey reports deteriorating experiences of NHS community mental health services:

David Forman
2022-11-01 12:46:16

No surprise to hear "that people who received their care via telephone, younger people (aged 18-35) and those with more challenging and severe non-psychotic disorders were less likely to report positive experiences." People with mental health problems are less well equipped to make effective complaints. My experience of the Derwent Centre was not satisfactory with constantly changing psychiatrists. I even had one who sat there filing his nails while I was pouring out my troubles. Years later I discovered he had written a load of nonsense in my medical records due to either a lack of attention or possibly spite due to me telling him "are you listening to me mate". Sad to say I got the help I needed in the private sector. A wonderful CBT psychotherapist named Manjit Jessy treated me for PTSD.

Mark Gough
2022-11-02 19:18:44

Mental health issues are now the number one killer of women in the UK! It's time the politics and the stupid tit for tat, together with pointless reorganizations, PFI debts and ridiculous caps on Medicine and Nurse training were properly dealt with by a Royal Commission. I think people in this Country are fed up with it, and just want the World Class Health Service they are constantly promised!

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