The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman’s recent report on mental health provision is damning.
Titled Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care, Rob Behrens’ analysis confirms what we already know: mental health services are in crisis and people are suffering and dying because of it.
The case studies are harrowing. Mr Behrens’ says:
The cases highlighted in this report starkly illustrate the human cost of service failures. These cases are not isolated examples. They are symptomatic of persistent problems we see time and again in our complaints casework and, moreover, they represent failings throughout the care pathway.
In the most severe cases, mistakes can NHS leaders is to make those ambitions a lead to avoidable deaths.
This excellent article in The Guardian gives an overview of the findings.
The Ombudsman’s report outlines the scope of complaints received:
In 2016-17 there were 14,106 complaints made to NHS mental health trusts, with around 65% being upheld or partly upheld by the local organisation. In 2016-17, we completed a further 352 investigations into NHS mental health trusts and found failings in 130 (37%) of these cases. We also saw failings in a further 37 complaints which were either already accepted by the organisation, or where we were able to resolve the complaint without completing a full investigation.
Former health minister Norman Lamb MP says:
This disturbing report is further evidence that the mental health system is under impossible strain, with devastating consequences for some of the most vulnerable people in our society.
Mental health budgets are being trimmed while there remains a chronic shortage of clinical staff – and too many people are suffering harm or tragic loss of life as a result.
There is a moral imperative that lessons are learnt from this report. Everybody suffering from mental ill-health deserves access to the best possible care and treatment, and the Government must do what it takes to end the scandalous neglect of these people by ensuring that mental health services are properly funded.
* Kirsten Johnson is an Oxfordshire County Councillor and Day Editor for Lib Dem Voice. She stood as the Parliamentary Candidate for Oxford East in the 2017 General Election.