CQC highlights inequalities for people with mental health problems in hospital

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Posted on 13/06/2018

People with mental health problems report poorer experience when they stay in hospital

The majority of people who stayed as an inpatient in hospital were happy with the care they received, had confidence in the doctors and nurses treating them and had a better overall experience, according to a national survey from the Care Quality Commission (CQC). 

However, people with mental health problems generally report a poorer experience when they stay in hospital. 

The 2017 inpatient survey asked over 70,000 adults who had stayed in hospital for at least one night during July last year said about the care they received. 

The survey asked people to give their opinions on the care they received, including quality of information and communication with staff, whether they were given enough privacy, the amount of support given to help them eat and drink and help with personal hygiene, and on arrangements to discharge them from hospital. 

For a second year running, responses were less positive across most areas for people with a mental health problem than those without. 

Those with mental health problems said they had less confidence and trust in hospital staff, and thought they were treated with less respect and dignity and felt less informed about their care. They also gave lower than average scores in relation to whether their needs, values and preferences were fully considered, and for the quality of the coordination and integration of their care. 

This repeats a trend found in the results of CQC’s 2017 surveys of children and young people and patients using A&E. 

 

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said:

“It is concerning that people with mental health problems consistently report worse experiences of acute care than those without. Those working in and commissioning services need to use these results to look at how care can be improved to address this inequality. 

“Our physical and mental health are closely connected. Having a mental health problem can make it harder to look after your physical health, while the side effects of medication can also take their toll. Conversely, living with a long-term physical health problem can affect your mental wellbeing and lead to problems like depression. It is vital that those working in acute hospitals have enough understanding of mental health problems so that they can provide holistic care. 

“We also know, and this is picked up in the findings, that much more needs to be done to coordinate and integrate the healthcare received by people with mental health problems. This principle is the basis of several recommendations in the Five Year Forward View and underlines why this plan is so important; services need to improve so that, regardless of your mental health background, you get the quality of care that you need.”

 

For further information about the 2017 adult inpatient survey, including the national summary and the results for all 148 NHS trust that took part, visit the CQC website

 

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