Adult mental health services bulletins 1 and 2 provide interim findings from our current review of these services. The first bulletin, ‘Patterns of NHS service provision’, provides comparative information on NHS costs, hospital beds and staffing. The second bulletin, Focusing on the views of users and carers, outlines the key priorities for people with mental health problems and their carers.
The first bulletin shows that while some trusts are making good progress in developing community based care, others are making much slower progress with services related more to historical levels of provision rather than current needs. In addition, access to services is varied and may be determined more by where one lives than by the level of individual need. Another major finding is that there are significant variations in staffing levels between trusts. This will need further examination to assess whether the variations are affecting patient care.
The second bulletin provides the findings from a series of focus groups held with people who have mental health problems and their carers. Users and carers were asked to prioritise the main issues arising from their own contact with mental health services. The priorities were similar for both users and carers, and included: the need for better information and a more positive involvement in the care process; and a further development of community based services.
The Commission is following up this work over the coming year with audits in NHS trusts and health boards.