Rise in complaints to ministers over access to mental health services

Complaints about patient access, clinical practice and CAMHS all rose in 2013, official figures show

Norman Lamb
Care and support minister Norman Lamb (Credit: Steve Meddle/Rex Features)

Care minister Norman Lamb has unveiled some interesting data regarding the number of complaints made to ministers about mental health services. The figures, released in response to a parliamentary question by Conservative MP David Ames, shows that complaints made to the Department of Health’s ministerial correspondence unit about mental health care rose 12% last year.

The unit received 380 complaints about mental health services in 2013, up from 338 in 2012. The number of complaints about access to services, child and adolescent mental health services and poor clinical practice also rose. Complaints about Mental Health Act hospital detention fell slightly. In the first three months of 2014 the unit received 105 complaints.

The government has told NHS England to introduce national access standards for mental health services by 2015 in a bid to improve care.

Lamb said that the data contains ‘minimum figures only’ as it is restricted to complaints received by the ministerial correspondence unit, rather than the Department of Health as a whole. Data was also provided for 2010 and 2011 but the DH changed its method of recording complaints in June 2011. I’ve pulled out some of the key complaint categories here:

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