Mental Health

21.03.18

NHS Ombudsman calls out ‘harrowing’ failings in mental health care

A damning report by the NHS watchdog has laid bare a number of “serious failings” in English mental health service.

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO), Rob Behrens, analysed more than 200 complaints and highlighted cases where mistakes made by NHS staff had led to a “human cost”, including several preventable deaths.

The report also says that the problems are not isolated to individual failures but are symptomatic of persistent problems, which come up repeatedly in complaints submitted to Behrens.

Mistakes – including failing to properly diagnose conditions and discharging patients from care too soon – can lead to “catastrophic consequences” the PHSO said.

“The cases we have identified demonstrate the importance of maintaining momentum in improving mental health services, to ensure patients receive the safe, effective care they need and prevent the same mistakes happening to others,” Behrens commented.

“Patients who use specialist mental health services are among the most vulnerable in our society. As a result, any serious failings on the part of the organisations providing these services can have catastrophic consequences for them.”

The report points to five “common failings” that can affect mental health trusts, specifically highlighting inadequate assessment of risk and poor lines of communication between patients, families and healthcare providers.

It hits on a number of anonymous patients who suffered because of NHS mental health service failures, such as Ms J and Mr O who both died as a result of misdiagnosis.

Behrens also questions the handling of certain “at risk” patients who had not been given the appropriate information and suffered from poor care or increased stress and anxiety because of their interactions with staff.

Responding to the findings, Brian Dow, director of external affairs at Rethink Mental Illness, said: “This judicious report from the Ombudsman reflects what our supporters have been telling us for years: that our overstretched services are failing them time and time again.

“These findings underline the desperate need for reform and the sometimes-devastating consequences of a struggling system. We do now have a blueprint for change but this will need drive and funding to achieve its aims, or we will continue to hear stories like these.”

The news follows on from earlier criticism of the NHS for its provision of mental health services, after the CQC called for stronger leadership to ensure that care was properly delivered.

While inspectors applauded improvements across a number of the country’s mental health trusts, it said that more still needs to be done to bring mental healthcare into line with acute services.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

20/03/2019Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

Kirstie Stott, director of The Inspiring Leaders Network, discusses organisational and system curiosity alongside the work of the Shadow Board Pr... more >
Fiction as Therapy

20/03/2019Fiction as Therapy

Elaine Bousfield of ZunTold Publishing – a press specialising in fiction for children and young people – discusses ‘Fiction as ... more >
Capturing funds for the NHS estate

20/03/2019Capturing funds for the NHS estate

Aahsan Rahman, department head of town planning at NHS Property Services (NHSPS), looks at an alternative and perhaps underutilised funding sourc... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated th... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

20/03/2019Personal Health Budgets: empowering individuals

Jon Baker, PHBChoices director at NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) believes that the extension of Personal Health Budgets (PHBs) is a great opportunity for clinical commissioning groups (CCG) to expand and improve care provision – provided that the right infrastructure is in place. The personalisation agenda is transforming ou... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

20/03/2019Staying curious with the Shadow Board Programme

Kirstie Stott, director of The Inspiring Leaders Network, discusses organisational and system curiosity alongside the work of the Shadow Board Pr... more >
Fiction as Therapy

20/03/2019Fiction as Therapy

Elaine Bousfield of ZunTold Publishing – a press specialising in fiction for children and young people – discusses ‘Fiction as ... more >
Capturing funds for the NHS estate

20/03/2019Capturing funds for the NHS estate

Aahsan Rahman, department head of town planning at NHS Property Services (NHSPS), looks at an alternative and perhaps underutilised funding sourc... more >
The digital revolution for healthcare is now!

20/03/2019The digital revolution for healthcare is now!

Richard Corbridge, chief digital & information officer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, focuses on the practices his trust has put in p... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >
Tackling infection prevention locally

04/10/2017Tackling infection prevention locally

Dr Emma Burnett, a lecturer and researcher in infection prevention at the University of Dundee’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and a boar... more >

health service focus

View all News