New CQC report on Mental Health Act highlights need for improvements

November 2016

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) has published their annual report on the Mental Health Act, highlighting that faster improvements are needed for people detained under the Act.

'Monitoring the Mental Health Act' outlines how healthcare services in England are using the Mental Health Act to maximise people's recovery and wellbeing when they have been detained. More than half of the inpatient psychiatric wards that were reviewed did not train staff in the 'Code of Practice', which gives guidance on the Act.

The number of detentions has also risen in recent years and 2014/15 saw the highest increase of 10%.

12% of patients interviewed said they were not informed of their right to an Independent Mental Health Advocate, who can offer support and help them be more involved in their care. There was no evidence of patient involvement in care planning for 29% of records examined.

CQC has found lots of good practice across England but stresses that more is needed to be done to improve care.

Suzanne Hudson, Bipolar UK Chief Executive and Chair of the Mental Health Alliance, said: "We welcome the improved transparency and information of the Monitoring the Mental Health Act annual report.

"Being involuntarily detained under the Mental Health Act is one of the most serious things that can happen to someone in terms of their mental health. For this reason it should only happen it it's absolutely necessary, with great care and in strict adherance with the procedures laid out in the Act. The overall rise in detentions and Community Treatment Orders is very worrying and is symptomatic of problems elsewhere in mental health services. The report also highlights worrying variations in service quality, limited awareness and access to advocacy, and that services are still now routinely involving patients in their treatment."

The Mental Health Alliance is currently carrying out a survey into the Mental Health Act. The survey is gathering individuals' views on the principles of the Act and how people's rights are currently protected, where this is working well and what could be improved. You can take part in the survey by following the link below.

Find out more and read the full report on the CQC website

Take part in the Mental Health Alliance's survey on the Mental Health Act