21 Mar 2018

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman have presented a report on mental health care in the NHS to Parliament today.

The report, ‘Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care’, shows that failings in mental health care are causing harm and needless distress to vulnerable patients and their families. The report is based on an analysis of over 200 mental health complaints upheld and highlights common failings, in five themes:

1. Diagnosis and failure to treat.
2. Risk assessment and patient safety.
3. Dignity and human rights.
4. Communication.
5. Inappropriate discharge and provision of aftercare.

In response, the Trust’s Chief Executive, Carolyn Regan, said:

“We welcome this report from the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman highlighting learning from its mental health casework and 200 cases.

“There are themes in the cases for all mental health professionals to learn from, such as the importance of integrating mental health with physical healthcare and good communications with patients and carers.

“In our Trust we have taken action by employing physical health nurses to work alongside mental health nurses, by training all our clinical staff in physical healthcare and by ensuring that all patients are given a physical healthcare check on the day of admission. We have also commissioned a comprehensive and independent report from safety expert Dr Jane Carthey, (former Head of Research at the National Patient Safety Agency) into themes, lessons learned and actions we can take to improve the trust’s handling of serious incidents – and to help prevent them from happening again.

“By laying these case studies before Parliament, The PHSO is ensuring that mental health matters are kept in the forefront of health policy and it is sharing system-wide learning with mental health providers.”