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21.11.16

‘Frustrating’ lack of progress in implementing mental health patient rights

The CQC has issued a warning over whether mental health providers are following the Mental Health Act after its latest annual report found little progress in implementing the regulations from last year.

Its report said that more than half of the inpatient psychiatric wards had not trained their staff in the ‘Code of Practice’ guidance on carrying out their responsibilities under the Act, or updated their policies to reflect the Code, which was introduced in April 2015.

There was also no evidence of patient involvement in care planning in almost a third of patient records, and patient needs had not been considered in 10% of care plans.

Dr Paul Lelliott, the CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: “We know that it is a challenging time for all health and care services across the country with rising demand and strained resources; however, the priority must continue to be on patient care, recovery and need.

“We are frustrated that there has been little progress since last year’s report.”

CQC figures also showed that 12% of the patients interviewed did not seem to have been informed of their right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate.

The inspectorate argued that providers should demonstrate stronger leadership in training staff on the Code of Practice, whilst commissioners should consider the needs of patients when commissioning services.

It also called for the experiences of views of detained patients to be used routinely in monitoring mental health services.

Detentions under the Mental Health Act have grown steadily since 2008. In 2014-15, the most recent year for which figures are available, they experienced the highest ever year-on-year rise of almost 10%, to 58,400 detentions.

The CQC added that the DH and national agencies should work together to reduce detention rates using improved early intervention in mental health services.

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