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CQC demands improvements as trusts failing community mental healthcare

The CQC’s deputy chief of hospitals and mental health lead, Dr Paul Lelliott, will write to several NHS and community mental health providers demanding improvement after they underperformed in this year’s community mental health survey.

The findings, collected from 58 mental health service providers in the community, such as specialist clinics and in people’s homes, revealed that four providers performed significantly worse than others based on the views of the 13,000 people surveyed in 2016.

The underachievers were Isle of Wight NHS Trust, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS FT and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust. All have a current CQC rating of ‘requires improvement’.

Dr Lelliott said: “While the survey results highlight many positive aspects of care, I am deeply concerned by the lack of improvement overall in trusts in England.

“I have written to the four providers that have been identified as performing worse than other providers within the survey for their reassurance on what they propose to do in response.

People’s feedback is a vital way of identifying problems and improving care, he explained. “We will check up on how these trusts are progressing during our next planned inspections.”

Around 1.7 million people are currently being funded by NHS for the community treatment of their mental health conditions, ranging from depression to psychosis, which is vital in supporting their recoveries. Despite this, the CQC’s results found that, overall, people’s experiences have not improved in the last year.  

Roughly one in three people (35%) reported that their overall care experience was poor, similar to those surveyed in 2014 and 2015. A third did not know who to contact if they experienced an out-of-hours crisis, while around of a quarter of those that did said that they did not get sufficient help.

However, the survey did reinforce the successes of community mental healthcare, with 74% of respondents saying that they were ‘always’ treated with respect and dignity. Approximately three-quarters of people were aware of the person responsible for their care while 97% of those said that they knew how to contact that person.

One provider out of the 58 surveyed received significantly better feedback than the rest, NAVIGO Health and Social Care CIC, which was rated 'good' by the CQC on their last inspection.

“I am grateful for the 13,000 people who took the time to share their experiences,” Dr Lelliott said. “Providers of community mental health services must now take the time to review what they have said and to act on any areas of concern.”

The CQC’s survey is carried out annually with the NHS asking patients for their views on aspects of their care. The findings of these surveys feed into wider CQC monitoring of the NHS and are used, among other evidence, to inform CQC’s inspections.

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