CQC published its fourth Mental Health Act report yesterday, which revealed that the number of people detained or treated under the Mental Health Act has risen by 12% in the last five years. Last year the Act was used 50,000 times to detain or treat people under compulsion last year.
CQC found that all parts of the health and care system need to work together to make urgent changes, required as a minimum by the Mental Health Act and the accompanying Code of Practice.
CQC expects to see changes in the following areas:
- Hospitals must ensure that their policies promote the principle of least restriction and that staff are supported to promote the dignity and autonomy of people in their care.
- Hospitals must promote cultures that support therapeutic practices and reduce to a minimum, the use of restraint and seclusion.
- NHS and local authority service commissioners of mental health services must act on these findings and act on guidance in the implementation framework to the national mental health outcomes strategy, to improve access to services and outcomes for people with mental health problems.
- Commissioners and providers of mental health services must be proactive in initiating and embedding learning from the deaths of people subject to the Mental Health Act.
CQC have identified 5 key areas of action:
1. Use of the Mental Health Act – CQC will consider possible changes to practice and policy that could result in a reduction or reverse to this trend.
2. Deaths of detained patients – people in the care of specialist mental health services are a high risk group for suicide and unidentified or poorly treated physical ill-health. CQC is concerned about how services respond to, review and report on death. CQC will work with partners to look for opportunities for shared learning and preventative action.
3. Access to care during a mental health crisis – CQC will work with key partners in developing the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat. This will focus attention on the issues that have been highlighted around emergency mental health care.
4. Complaints about the Mental Health Act – CQC has a statutory duty to review and investigate complaints relating to the Mental Health Act. CQC will be looking at how they review the content and trends of these complaints.
5. Involving people who use services – CQC will increase the voice of people who use services in our understanding of the operation of the Mental Health Act. CQC’s new inspection reports in 2014 will combine CQC’s findings in a single report that covers both service inspection and Mental Health Act monitoring.