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01 Dec 2021

CQC survey finds mental health care ‘poorest for years’

An annual survey from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), has found that people’s experiences of mental health care continue to be poor, with people’s experience of some areas of care at their lowest point in eight years.

The CQC’s Community Mental Health Survey shows that nearly half of respondents reported that their mental health had deteriorated due to changes made to their care and treatment due to the pandemic.

Marjorie Wallace, SANE’s Chief Executive, has given her views on the survey results:

“The survey supports our own experience that Covid-19 has already denuded and destabilised mental health services, which are often unable to help people in crisis, or provide care and treatment to prevent patients’ mental states from deteriorating dangerously.

“Respondents paint a picture of frontline healthcare that is at times chaotic and overwhelmed, leaving thousands with nowhere to turn when they are most at risk. Shockingly, more than a quarter of those surveyed still did not have an out-of-hours contact number.

“SANE, along with other organisations, is picking up the pieces but is not resourced to meet the escalating demand and increased severity of need through the pandemic.

“It is not as though the Government has been unaware of this looming storm, and the long-promised funding and reform must reach patients before it is too late.”

CQC mental health survey

The survey findings include:

  • Over a quarter of people (26%) would not know who to contact out of hours in the NHS if they had a crisis. Of those who did try to contact this person or team, a fifth did not get the help they needed (20%) or could not contact them (3%).
  • Almost a fifth of people (17%) reported care and services were not available when they needed them in the last 12 months.
  • Only 56% of people were given enough time to discuss their needs and treatment. This is the lowest result for this question in eight years.
  • Just two in five people (41%) said they had “definitely” seen enough of the services they relied upon to manage their condition.
  • Of those who had been told who is in charge of organising their care, 96% knew how to contact this person or team. Similarly, 90% of people felt the person who organised their care did so ‘very well’ or ‘quite well’.

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