Review into mental health settings is step in right direction ‘but long way to go’ – Mind

Efforts to identify safety risks in mental health settings in England through a review have been welcomed, but a charity has urged those behind it to go further and seek “prevention and solutions”.

A rapid review was announced last month, focusing on improving safety amid concerns from mental health trust leaders about reports of abuse and poor care within services.

On Tuesday the review’s terms of reference were set out, saying that its purpose is to come up with recommendations “to improve the way data and information is used in relation to patient safety in mental health inpatient care settings and pathways, including for people with a learning disability and autistic people”.

The Government said the review will look at data and information including complaints and whistleblowing alerts, and consider how data and information is used about NHS trust and independent sector providers.

The final report is due to be submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care by spring.

The review aims to look at the data collected on mental health inpatient services by national bodies, regional teams, local systems and others, and how that data is used.

It also aims to understand how the experiences and views of patients, families, staff and advocates are collected, analysed and used, and to look at whether data and intelligence are collected and used in such a way as to identify risk factors for inpatient safety.

Gemma Byrne, head of health, policy and campaigns at mental health charity Mind, said while the rapid review is a “step in the right direction” there is “a long way to go” and called for a “full statutory inquiry into failings”.

She said: “The UK Government’s rapid review, if carried out effectively, has the potential to provide invaluable information on how failures in mental health inpatient settings can be better identified.

“However, what it seems this review will not provide are learnings on how the UK Government and NHS can prevent appalling treatment from happening in the future and urgently address the poor treatment still going on today.

“Identifying problems is not enough – we need prevention and solutions.

“Anyone that goes into hospital for their mental health deserves to receive safe, compassionate and therapeutic care, but this is far from what is currently being delivered.

“To get to that point, we need to see widespread systemic change across inpatient mental health care.

“The UK Government’s rapid review is a step in the right direction, but there’s a long way to go.

“We need the UK Government to launch a full statutory inquiry into failings in inpatient mental health services where the voices of people with lived experience and their loved ones are heard and essential systemic changes are identified.

“This needs to go hand in hand with the overdue long-term investment mental health services need to deliver these changes.”

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