One in five people did not feel safe while in the care of NHS mental health services, a survey has revealed.
The study, published by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, found more than half of people with mental health problems in England said they experienced delays to their treatment, while 42% said that they waited too long to be diagnosed.
One survey participant said that after they attempted to take their own life, they had to wait more than six months to be referred to a specialist mental health team.
Moreover, one in three people said they did not think their complaint would be taken seriously while a quarter were worried complaining would affect how they were treated.
Ombudsman Rob Behrens said it is unacceptable that so many patients requiring mental health treatment are left feeling unsafe in the NHS.
“While the NHS in England must continue to implement its Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, it should also look now at what more is needed to transform mental health services so the people who need them get the care they deserve,” he stated.
The YouGov survey comes almost two years after the Ombudsman’s Maintaining Momentum report. It suggests that people accessing treatment are continuing to experience the five service failings identified in the report: failure to diagnose and/or treat the patient; poor risk assessment and safety practices; not treating patients with dignity and/or infringing human rights; poor communication with the patient and/or their family or carers; and inappropriate hospital discharge and aftercare of the patient. Sean Duggan, chief executive of the Mental Health Network, which is part of the NHS Confederation, said stretched staff work tirelessly to give the best possible care, but the report shows significant progress needs to be made.
“The vision set out in the NHS Long Term Plan will help, but we need renewed support from government to recruit and retain the right number of people, to ensure facilities are safe and up-to-date and that legislation is appropriate,” he argued.