Mental health chiefs to meet CQC over controversial survey

Mental health trust chiefs are set to meet with the Care Quality Commission in two weeks time amid continuing concerns over the regulator’s handling of results from its national inpatients survey.

Two trust chief executives and Steve Shrubb, director of representative body the Mental Health Network, will raise their unhappiness at the presentation of the survey, which was published last month, with the CQC.

In an interview with Community Care, the Department of Health’s national director for mental health, Louis Appleby, said the CQC gave a “deliberately distorting” and overly negative portrayal of the results to gain media headlines.

Survey lacked context

Shrubb was more sanguine about the survey’s presentation but added that most members also believed it lacked context and was unbalanced. The meeting would see how all involved could move on “in a positive way”.

“Our view is very clear. These surveys are important. They are an important element of improving quality and for that matter a strong regulator is essential. But we have a view that the way the last survey was reported lacked context and wasn’t balanced,” he said.

He added that all chief executives recognised there were still improvements to be made in services and surveys formed an important role in this. 

“Dismay” at position

However, the survey’s presentation has been vigorously defended by CQC commissioner Kay Sheldon, who has used mental health services.

In an article for Community Care, she said:  “It was with astonishment and dismay that I saw the various responses by Professor Appleby to the survey and its findings, asserting that the results and key messages were inaccurate, invalid and headline grabbing.”

She added: “This was not about making the headlines but about providing a platform for the experiences and views of people receiving mental health services.”

In an earlier response, the CQC said the results “contained some really important messages to which we should all listen very carefully”.

More information

Mental Health Network

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