Healthcare Commission criticised for failing mental health patients

    The Healthcare Commission has been accused of ignoring the
    results of its own patient survey following its decision to end
    scrutiny of whether mental health trusts give patients copies of
    their care plans.

    Although giving patients copies of their care plans is a
    requirement of the National Service Framework for Mental Health,
    the commission says the indicator is no longer useful for
    distinguishing between the performances of trusts.

    However, in the commission’s patient survey last year, only two-
    fifths of patients reported having copies of their care plans. This
    figure rose to 69 per cent for patients on enhanced plans.

    Moira Fraser, policy officer for the mental health charity Mind,
    said: “Having a copy of your plan is a fundamental part of being
    involved in your own care. To remove this indicator implies that
    they don’t think it’s important and trusts don’t need to

    Mind are also concerned that the new indicator for crisis
    resolution teams does not expect trusts to make them all available

    “A crisis team that does not work out of hours is not fulfilling
    its function,” Fraser warned.

    But a spokesperson for the Healthcare Commission insisted that
    most dropped indicators had “reached the end of their useful

    “Whilst we recognise that not every single person has got a care
    plan, it is no longer useful to differentiate between trusts,” he

    This change is part of the commission’s wider move to cut
    targets for mental heath services. The overall number of indicators
    has now fallen from 38 to 28, including a fall in the number of key
    targets from seven to five.

    Other indicators dropped include those assessing how well
    patients are transferred from child and adolescent to adult mental
    health services and from adult to older people’s mental health

    New indicators added include monitoring the proportion of drug
    misusers who stay the course of a 12-week treatment programme.

    Another new indicator examines how successful trusts have been
    in reducing the numbers of people with learning difficulties in
    long-term NHS residences – a key aim of the Valuing People white

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