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New survey highlights ongoing difficulties in community mental health

The newly published 2016 Community Mental Health Survey results demonstrate the difficulties in realising service improvements in a challenging economic climate. Between 2014 and 2015, declining communication, involvement and effective coordination — all areas that matter the most to service users — have not been reversed. However, results have been largely maintained in these years.

The Care Quality Commission Survey (developed and coordinated by Picker), was completed by over 13,000 people, many of whom would have liked greater access to services.  More than half of respondents (53%) felt that they had not always seen NHS mental health services often enough, and over one-third (37%) were not given enough time as they might have liked to discuss their needs and treatment.

The best outcomes are achieved through shared decision-making between clinicians and service users, but respondents to the survey report significant room for improvement in this area. Ten percent of people said that they had not been involved in deciding what treatments or therapies to use and a further 34% said they had only been involved ‘to some extent’.

Commenting on the results, Dr Andrew McCulloch, chief executive at Picker, said: ‘It is no secret NHS mental health services are under pressure. Many trusts have faced falling income and rising demand and this situation is going to worsen in the short-to-medium term. Against this backdrop, today’s results are understandable, but present further evidence of the impact of pressures on care.’

Pic credit: lel4nd@flickr

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