CQC on Community Mental Health

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

According to a recent survey undertaken by the CQC, community mental health care needs to improve in terms of involving people in their own care plans and making decisions about medication.

The CQC considered the views of more than 13,000 service users and found that many of them did not have a care plan or did not fully understand them. This could mean that people are not being adequately involved in decisions that are made about their care.

However, the majority of people who took part in the survey were positive about their experience of mental health care and rated their overall experience as 7 or above on a scale of 0-10.

Participants were asked about the care and support they received from mental health services outside of hospital.

The survey found that 14% of people on the Care Programme Approach said they did not have an NHS care plan and less than half ‘definitely’ understood their care plan.

The survey also highlighted that some people were not being adequately involved in decisions about their medication, with almost a third of people saying their views were only taken into account ‘to some extent’ when deciding which medication to take.

CQC chief executive, David Behan said that, ‘the survey describes some very positive experiences and flags where services can and must improve. People should always be at the heart of decisions about their own care. Care planning helps to make sure that people feel in control of their lives and illness and it can be vital in aiding their recovery. It is unacceptable that fewer people have adequate care planning than last year. It is also unacceptable for care plans not to include adequate crisis care management or for people to be poorly informed about the drugs they take’.

David Behan went on to say that one of CQC’s key objectives this year is to focus on the care being provided to people by mental health services. He said, ‘the results of this survey will help our inspection teams under the Chief Inspector of Hospitals Prof Sir Mike Richards home in on the poorest providers and be able to challenge this poor performance through inspection. Trusts should look at their own results carefully and consider whether, firstly, they are assessing people’s needs properly in the context of CPA policy, and secondly, whether they are giving them the appropriate level of support.’

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