Four worst performing mental health trusts named

Regulators have named four organisations that are falling short on caring for patients with mental health problems.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) said it was writing to four mental health trusts that performed "significantly worse" than others when service users were questioned about their experiences.

Across the country the survey revealed that people's experiences of being cared for in the community for mental health problems, ranging from depression to psychosis, have not improved since last year.

One in three reported that their overall experience of care was poor and 32% said they did not know who to contact out of office hours if they had a crisis.

Meanwhile, 24% of people who tried to get help during a mental health crisis - including suicidal thoughts, self harming behaviour, panic attacks and psychotic episodes - said they could not get assistance during their time of need.

The CQC said the survey of more than 13,000 people showed the worst performing trusts were Isle of Wight NHS Trust, West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, and Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership NHS Trust.

The CQC's deputy chief inspector of hospitals and the regulator's lead for mental health, Paul Lelliott, has written to the trusts outlining the action they must take to improve.

Dr Lelliott said: "There are around 1.7 million people across the country who are currently being funded by the NHS, for treatment for a mental health condition in the community funded by the NHS.

"These services are vital in supporting their recoveries and preventing their conditions from deteriorating.

"While the survey results highlight many positive aspects of care, I am deeply concerned by the lack of improvement overall in trusts in England.

"I am grateful for the 13,000 people who took the time to share their experiences. Providers of community mental health services must now take the time to review what they have said and to act on any areas of concern.

"I have written to the four providers that have been identified as performing worse than other providers within the survey for their reassurance on what they propose to do in response.

"People's feedback is a vital way of identifying problems and improving care. We will check up on how these trusts are progressing during our next planned inspections."

The CQC survey was published as a new report highlighted that specialist mental health services are turning away almost a quarter of youngsters seeking help.

The Education Policy Institute Independent Commission on Children and Young People's Mental Health said such services are turning away 23% of children and young people referred to them, often because there are "high thresholds" for accessing care.

The authors warned that "something has to go drastically wrong before some services will intervene".

One organisation would not accept those who had expressed a desire to commit suicide unless they had done so on more than one occasion.

Some of those who are able to access treatment can wait for months for care.