Mind responds to CQC’s State of Care report, showing serious decline in quality and safety of mental health services
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published its annual State of Care report, assessing the quality of health and social care services in England. The report shows mental health services across the country faced one of their most challenging years, as providers struggled to keep pace with surging demand alongside staffing shortages and a lack of capacity in both community and inpatient care.
The main findings relating to mental health include:
- 40% of providers were rated as ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ for safety
- Gaps in community care are putting strain on hospital mental healthcare
- As a result, people with mental health problems are being cared for in the wrong environments, like A&E. At one trust, 42 mental health patients waited for over 36 hours in a single month
- Almost 1 in 5 mental health nursing posts are vacant, contributing to an over-use of restrictive practices, including restraint, seclusion, and segregation
- Mental health was more than twice as likely to be the reason for NHS staff sickness than any other illness.
Vicki Nash, Associate Director of Policy and Campaigns at Mind, said:
“This report paints a damning picture of the situation in mental health services. Sadly, the scale of the crisis comes as little surprise to those with experience of mental health problems or working on the frontline. The findings sound alarm bells across the board – from quality and safety of care, through to waiting lists, capacity and staffing. These failings are systemic, and, despite repeated calls for investment and improvement, services are now buckling under the pressure.
“It is clear the mental health system is broken - people seeking help are being let down and even losing their lives in the process. They might be one of the eight million people struggling with their mental health who can’t access support, among the 1.8 million on waiting lists for community care or receiving hospital treatment that is substandard and unsafe. We know many people's mental health deteriorates while waiting and can reach crisis point before they get help, meaning they are left with no alternative but A&E, detained against their will for treatment, or fall through the cracks between different overstretched agencies. This cannot go on. The UK government must urgently raise the standard of mental health care.
“This report lays bare the real human cost of political inaction and delay. The UK government is running out of time to pass the Mental Health Bill, with the upcoming King’s Speech its final chance to commit to the changes that will strengthen rights and protections for people before the next general election. Politicians cannot continue to stand by while people with mental health problems and their loved ones are being repeatedly failed by a system meant to care for them.”