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Less than half of mental health patients receive enough care

Charity warns there has been a downward spiral in care

Less than half of patients feel they are sufficiently cared for by NHS mental health services, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found.

A survey of more than 12,500 people reveals that over the past five years respondents have become increasingly dissatisfied with the time they are given with a professional and the advice they are given on how to cope.  

Only 42% said they “definitely” saw NHS mental health services often enough for their needs. This is one percentage point lower than the previous year’s result and five percentage points lower than in 2014.

Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane, said the findings show a downward spiral in care which leaves many thousands of people with mental health problems neglected and under-treated.

Younger people aged 18 to 35 reported worse than average experiences while older people reported better than average, the Daily Mail reports.

The poll also found almost one in three people (31%) did not know who to contact in the NHS out of hours if they had a mental health crisis. Of people who did know who to contact and had attempted to do, one in five (20%) said they did not receive the help they needed. 

There was also a drop when it came to time spent with staff, with 57% of people saying they had enough time to discuss their needs and treatment, one percentage point lower than the previous year and 8% down on 2014.

Only half (52%) of respondents said the person or team they saw were completely aware of their treatment history, and 23% were not involved in agreeing their treatment plan. 

“Sane’s experience from the many callers to our helpline is that people who are suicidal or self-harming are being sent home from A&E, with overburdened community teams often taking days to make urgent home visits, leaving patients, their families and carers with nowhere to turn,” said Wallace. “If the new government, following the new long-term plan, does not restore beds and staff for people in crisis, then the promised transformation in mental healthcare will fail.”