Saturday, 2 February 2013

Mental Health Act report out today

Posted Wednesday 30 January 2013
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has today published its annual report into the use of the Mental Health Act. The report found that:
  • The number of people being sectioned or put on Community Treatment Orders is rising
  • Almost four in ten (37 per cent) of care plans checked by the CQC showed no evidence of involvement of the person who had been sectioned
  • There was no evidence that patients had been informed of their legal right to an Independent Mental Health Act Advocate (IMHA) in 21 per cent of records reviewed
  • Almost half (45%) of patient records reviewed still showed no evidence of consent to treatment discussions before being given medication.

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

Being involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act is one of the most serious things that can happen to someone in terms of their mental health. For this reason it should only happen if it is absolutely necessary, with great care and in strict adherence with the procedures laid out in the Act. Today's report shows that, in many cases, people's basic human rights are being infringed at a time when they are likely to be at their most vulnerable.
The overall rise in detentions and Community Treatment Orders is very worrying and is symptomatic of problems elsewhere in mental health services. Better access to talking therapies, for example, or well-resourced crisis care services that can respond to a person's individual needs can help prevent a person's situation escalating until compulsion appears to be the only option. Yet we know from extensive research that mental health services are failing in all these areas. Detaining people because it's the only way to ensure they have a bed is completely unacceptable.

The government says it is keen to do more to improve mental health services across the board. This report shows just how far there is to go in many areas and raises serious concerns about how realistic it is to expect improvements while services are so overstretched. It is a wake-up call for the Department of Health and a clear signal to the NHS Commissioning Board and Clinical Commissioning Groups that, as they begin to assume responsibility for health services, mental health must be a top priority.

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