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CQC urges commissioners to review and improve mental health contracts


21 November 2016

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The Care Quality Commission has urged commissioners to review mental health contracts so that they deliver services informed by national guidance.

In a new report the CQC has said commissioners “should work together to deliver services informed by national guidance and best practice”.

The Care Quality Commission has urged commissioners to review mental health contracts so that they deliver services informed by national guidance.

In a new report the CQC has said commissioners “should work together to deliver services informed by national guidance and best practice”.

It says: “They should review commissioning contracts to make sure they commission services where they have evidence on how the Act is being applied and that the Code is being met.

“They should consider how to ensure a model for commissioning, procuring and delivering services locally that is based on co-production and collaboration with people who use services, and how they are ensuring inequalities are monitored and addressed.”

The quality regulator found there is good practice in how psychiatric inpatient units are caring for people when detained under the Mental Health Act, but that there is still much to be done to improve.

It raises concerns that progress needs to happen at a faster pace for key issues, such as patient involvement and protection of rights.

More than half of the inpatient psychiatric wards CQC reviewed had not demonstrated that they had trained their staff in the ‘Code of Practice’ and more than half had not updated their policies, despite the Code being introduced over 18 months ago

Dr Paul Lelliott, CQC’s deputy chief inspector of hospitals and lead for mental health, said: "We know that it is a challenging time for all health and care services across the country with rising demand and strained resources; however, the priority must continue to be on patient care, recovery and need. We are frustrated that there has been little progress since last year’s report.

"As the quality regulator, we will continue to play our part in supporting services to improve and taking action to protect people, where necessary. We expect providers and commissioners to recognise this urgent need for change and to do the same.

"Mental healthcare professionals are one of the very few groups in our society that have the authority to deprive people of their liberty.  It is absolutely vital that safeguards are in place to guarantee that people detained under mental health legislation both know their right to challenge their detention and are enabled to exercise this right.

"Although, our observations are worrying for people with serious mental health needs overall, there are many examples of good practice in how providers and staff discharge their responsibilities under the Mental Health Act.

"Also, it is notable that two mental health trusts have been rated as outstanding overall in the last round of comprehensive inspections. This shows that services can deliver good practice, and we expect this and future monitoring reports to enable services to learn from these examples."

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