Report finds issues with NHS staff’s approach to patients in a mental health crisis

The report, entitled ‘Right here, right now: Mental health crisis care review’, aimed to explore the patient experience during a mental health crisis and the response they received from NHS services.

The findings of the report suggest that, while there is evidence of good practice in the NHS, services vary greatly across England, with many NHS services struggling to provide appropriate care to patients in a mental health crisis. The main issues outlined in the report include the attitudes of staff towards patients, with NHS staff often not treating patients with respect or taking the time to listen to carer’s concerns.

The CQC’s report also flagged up issues of access, where not all patients had access to the help they needed at all times, as well as issues in dealing with incidents of self harming, where patients did not receive the proper help needed to prevent the crisis from getting worse.

In the foreword to the report, Dr Paul Lelliet said: “The report flags up some beacons of good practice and innovation; such as the pilot street triage services that divert people with mental illness from the criminal justice system to the help that they need. However, it also shows that services across England still vary greatly in their ability to provide a timely and high-quality response to people experiencing a mental health crisis. It demonstrates that too many people in this situation are unable to access the help they need, when they need it, and are dissatisfied with the help they have been given.”

Brian Dow, the director of external affairs at the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: “This report makes for painful reading, and seems to suggest an upside-down world in which patients feel they get the worst care where they should be getting the best.”

He added: “We need a more sympathetic response: sympathy, understanding and good quality care when a patient walks in the door of A&E, and a sympathetic system where health and social care teams along with charities work in partnership to support the person properly after they are discharged.”

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