Mental health services still fall short in many areas

Staff shortages, under investment and major organisational
change mean mental health services are still inadequate in many
areas, according to a new report, writes Amy

The research, by the Commission for Health Improvement
(CHI), said many mental health trusts still face “significant
challenges”, and that mental health services lag behind the rest of
the NHS.

CHI found that a national shortage of psychiatrists and nurses
had a major impact on clinical leadership and quality of patient
care. Many permanent staff were found to be working long hours to
compensate, and said that they felt unsafe due to a high use of
agency and bank staff who did not have the skills to support them
in a violent incident.

Other findings showed that bed space in many trusts were under
severe pressure. Service users and carers in some areas said 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. Some trusts had built new
appropriate accommodation, but Victorian buildings with mixed sex
wards, shared bathrooms and poor security were still found to be
present in others.

The report concluded that priority tends to be given to adult
mental health services at the expense of services for children and
older people.

What CHI has found in: mental health trusts

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