Catalogue of woe revealed in services

Mental health services remain inadequate in many areas because of
staff shortages, under-investment and organisational change, the
Commission for Health Improvement (CHI) has found.

Research shows that many mental health trusts still face
“significant challenges” and that services lag behind the rest of
the NHS. It concludes that priority tends to be given to adult
mental health services at the expense of services for children and
older people.

CHI found that a national shortage of psychiatrists and nurses was
having a major impact on clinical leadership and quality of patient

Many permanent staff were working long hours to compensate for the
shortages and said they felt unsafe due to the high use of agency
and bank staff who did not have the skills to support them in a
violent incident.

Other findings show that bed space in many trusts is under severe
pressure, with some service users saying they had to wait until
crisis point before they could be admitted. Unsuitable and
unacceptable buildings and facilities for staff and service users
were also identified.

However, areas of good practice were identified, including service
user involvement, which is generally seen as better than in other
parts of the NHS.

Paul Farmer, director of public affairs at mental health charity
Rethink, said the report showed the importance of money reaching
front-line services.

– What CHI Has Found in: Mental Health Trusts from

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