Care Quality Commission
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Thematic review of mental health care announced

CQC is to carry out a review of emergency mental health care, following recent concerns about access to appropriate treatment for people with mental health issues.

CQC Chair David Prior announced the thematic review in his speech to the Policing, Mental Health & Black Briton Conference (27 June 2013).CQC inspectors will focus on people’s experience of using mental health services and how their needs are met.

Recent reports from the Commission on Mental Health and Policing, and the Joint Inspection led by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary of the use of police custody as a place of safety, have highlighted disparities between access to emergency mental health care, and access to emergency physical care.

Discussions with partner organisations and representatives of service users will start in July to develop the scope and approach of the review. A detailed plan will be drawn up with a view to starting inspections and gathering information by the end of this financial year.

Thematic reviews are analyses of existing intelligence gathered by CQC and other organisations on a particular topic or issues, and can include inspections of specific service areas.

Areas likely to be covered include:

  • use of section 136 of the Mental Health Act which gives police powers to take individuals suffering from mental health issues to a ‘place of safety’ where an assessment is made of their medical needs
  • access to health based places of safety
  • transport for people detained under the Mental Health Act
  • responses of Accident and Emergency departments to people in mental health crisis.

CQC Chair, David Prior said:

“There are a growing number of reports highlighting the plight of people who suffer from mental health disorders and the lack of adequate care many of them receive.

“The national policy on mental health makes a clear commitment to parity of esteem between mental and physical health care.

“CQC’s Annual Mental Health Act Report released early this year revealed that in some hospitals there are too many restrictions placed on people in mental health wards, and that people are not consulted on their own wishes and desires.

“Our review of emergency mental health care will give us a clearer view of what is going on. Our findings will also be used to help us create more accurate measures for assessing if care is safe, effective, caring, responsive and well led.”

Director of Black Mental Health UK (BMH UK), Matilda MacAttram said:

“Emergency mental health services are sadly almost the routine mode of entry into this system for people from the stakeholder group that BMH UK has been set up to serve. The high profile tragic cases we have seen in recent years highlight what goes wrong when even these services fail this vulnerable group.

“What we need to see is a wholesale transformation in the way this area of health care is designed and delivered so that it is actually fit for purpose.

“BMH UK hopes this thematic review will not only spotlight where there are failures in order to see them addressed, but will also highlight areas of good practice that are particularly needed in the demographic where the UK’s African Caribbean communities live in largest numbers.”


Note to editors

For media enquiries call the CQC press office on 0207 448 9401 during office hours or out of hours on 07917 232 143.

For general enquiries call 03000 616161.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care. 

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