Almost two-thirds of mental health trusts see ‘quality of care’ complaints rise

Almost two-thirds (60%) of England’s mental health trusts recorded a higher number of complaints in 2015-16, compared to five years ago, a freedom of information (FoI) investigation by NHE can reveal.

NHE asked mental health trusts how many complaints related to ‘quality of care’ they had received every year between 2011 and 2016, with 38 of 55 trusts in England responding to the FoI.

Of the respondents, 23 recorded more complaints last year than in 2011-12. Nine trusts had complaints go down in 2015-16 compared to five years previously, and six trusts were unable to give figures for 2011-12.

When the complaints were added together, the total number rose year-on-year from 4,413 in 2011-12 up to 6,703 in 2015-16.

The FoI revealed a postcode lottery in the amount of complaint rises varying across the country. In the south west, for instance, 87% of trusts had complaints go up in five years, compared to in London and the south east, where 75% of trusts complaints increased.

The only area which saw most trusts decrease the number of complaints was the Midlands, where only 40% of trusts had complaints rise over five years.

Figures should be a ‘wake-up call’ for NHS

Danielle Hamm, associate director for campaigns and policy at charity Rethink Mental Illness, said that the findings highlight “historic underfunding” in mental health which have left services struggling to get by.

“The impact of this is reflected in the experiences of people living with mental illness who continue to come up against barriers to accessing the quality of care they need and deserve,” she told NHE.

“The positive commitments to improve mental health services across the NHS are loud and clear. But these figures should be a wakeup call that there is currently a mismatch between rhetoric and reality.”

The promised changes and investment urgently need to filter down to ensure that people’s expectations match the type of care and support that they receive, concluded Hamm.

NHE’s findings come during mental health awareness week in the UK, which started on Monday 8 May.

A longer article on the FoI and mental health complaints will appear in NHE’s May/June edition, out at the end of the month.

(Top image c. alexskopje)


Concerned Of Tameside   10/05/2017 at 12:59

Absolutely... Personal experience of Mental Health Pennine Trust, ,burying concerns raised and excluding family. #CQC revisit hood winked May 2017.

Rachelle Schlachter   11/05/2017 at 13:51

The current high profiling of Mental Health is great - however as the article emphasizes this is not being followed through with funding and initiatives and recruiting trained staff on the ground level

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