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Thursday 27th October 2016

Mental health wards poor

23rd July 2008

A health watchdog has called for improvements in services for mental health patients in England.


Under the largest ever review of acute inpatient mental health services, the Healthcare Commission has highlighted areas for action and shows that there is room to improve in many areas.

In an assessment that covered all 69 NHS trusts providing acute inpatient mental health services in England, it found that the quality of services varied widely.

The review covered 554 wards providing almost 10,000 beds for patients between the ages of 18 and 65.

Overall, eight trusts were rated as "excellent", 20 as "good", and 30 as "fair" but 11 trusts were regarded as "weak".

The review followed reports over the last decade highlighting concerns about the quality of inpatient mental health services.

It found that while some trusts struggle to meet standard there were examples of high-performing trusts proving that it is possible to provide personalised, safe and good quality acute mental health care.

The Commission raised concerns that, in a six-month period, patients detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 were absent from services without authorisation on 2,745 occasions and there were high levels of violence, with 45% of nurses and 15% of patients reporting that they were physically assaulted in 2007.

Chief executive Anna Walker said: "It is clear that it is possible to provide patients with excellent acute hospital care and that some organisations are doing exactly that.

"But our report also shows that there are issues of significant concern and this is particularly true for some organisations."


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