CQC says mental health is at ‘crossroads’ while Portsmouth provider is adapting services

St James' Hospital, in Milton, has mental health services run by Solent NHS Trust.
 Picture: Sarah Standing (150538-1024)
St James' Hospital, in Milton, has mental health services run by Solent NHS Trust. Picture: Sarah Standing (150538-1024)

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  • Health watchdog the CQC has warned mental health services across the country are at a ‘crossroads’
  • A report found while some are moving forward, others are using out-dated care
  • Solent NHS Trust has introduced new schemes to adapt to the changing care needed for patients
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THE man in charge of mental health at Solent NHS Trust said they have adapted their service in response to people’s changing needs of care.

It comes as health watchdog the Care Quality Commission (CQC) found in a report the mental health sector was at a crossroads.

Working with our partners in the city, we have been adapting our services in response to people’s changing needs

Matthew Hall

The CQC found while some NHS trusts are coping with the challenges, others still have outdated care.

Solent, which runs the mental health services in Portsmouth, said the CQC findings were not a shock and, like other trusts, they had faced challenges.

Matthew Hall, clinical director of adult mental health services, said: ‘Working with our partners in the city, we have been adapting our services in response to people’s changing needs, new models of care and clinical developments.

‘Our inpatient wards and community services in Portsmouth were rated Good by the CQC. This hasn’t happened overnight.

‘Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group has invested in high-quality, up-to-date units and community settings, so people with mental health problems can be treated in safe and modern surroundings.’

Mr Hall added Solent has introduced schemes to improve its service from having a 24-hour mental health crisis team, training staff to manage challenging behaviour and using high-quality agency staff in response to shortages in nurses and psychiatrists.

Professor David Kingdon, clinical director for mental health at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, said they would be using the report to see how they could improve their service.

‘We welcome the CQC’s report on the state of mental health, which highlights some of the national challenges facing mental health care today,’ he said.

‘We recently published our strategy for mental health which sets out how we are tackling the issues raised in the report locally. This includes better access, better care for those in crisis, and making sure people with mental health problems have more of a say in the care they receive. ‘

‘With additional funding from our commissioners, we have recently expanded our mother and baby mental health services to include Portsmouth (where there was previously no specialist provision) and are increasing the level of mental health specialists working in hospital emergency departments.

‘We are now carefully reading the report to see what more we can do to improve the care for people with mental health problems in Hampshire.’

The CQC published its report yesterday which raised several concerns including:

- locked rehabilitation hospitals being long-stay wards that risk institutionalising patients.

- staff using physical restraint to manage challenging behaviour.

- a high number of detained patients who pose a risk to themselves, old and unsuitable buildings and staff shortages making it more likely patients and staff are at risk of suffering harm.

Dr Paul Lelliott, lead for mental health at the CQC, said: ‘The mental health sector is at a crossroads.

‘Some services remain rooted in the past providing care that is over-restrictive and not tailored. This can leave people feeling helpless and powerless.

‘But the best services are looking to the future by working in partnership with the people whose care they deliver.’