Date Published: 21 January 2010

CQC urges improved preventative mental health services

Regulator publishes results of mental-health patient ethnicity monitoring tool: ‘Count me in' census

The NHS, councils and wider community bodies should improve preventative services to ensure they meet the mental health needs of people from black and minority ethnic (BME) groups, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has said as it publishes the Count me in census.

The report - published today and designed to promote equality in healthcare - monitors the ethnicity of inpatients and people subject to the Mental Health Act.

It underlines the need for better local strategic needs assessments and bespoke community-based services to reduce the risk of admission and detention.

As similar reports by CQC's predecessor organisations have shown, this year's Count me in census shows people from black and white/black mixed groups are three times more likely than average to be detained under the Act. Furthermore, there is no evidence of a decline in admission rates among BME groups, one of the 12 goals of the Department of Health's action plan, Delivering Race Equality.

The report is the fifth of its kind and is carried out in support of the Department of Health's action plan.
The data collected is a snapshot of patients on one day only (31 March 2009) in NHS and independent mental health hospitals and learning disability services in England and Wales.

Count me in recommends better partnership working between organisations in the health sector and BME communities, to tackle the health and social care needs of local populations.

Preventing mental ill-health by addressing contributory factors and intervening early is at the heart of the Department of Health's plan for the future of mental health services.

CQC is also urging trusts and independent providers to continue to record accurate patient information. This will support their compliance with the new system of registration, which comes into effect in April.

Recording accurate patient information, including data on ethnicity, will support the regulation that requires providers to assess and monitor the quality of service provision. It will also support the regulation on the care and welfare of people who use services.

Trusts and independent providers that do not consider the ethnicity of people who use services may be unable to fully assess and meet their needs.

CQC chair, Jo Williams, said:

" This census has once again highlighted the overrepresentation of some people from black and white/black mixed communities subject to treatment under the Mental Health Act.

We would urge all local providers and commissioners to analyse their own data
and decide what steps they need to take to meet the mental health needs of their communities.

We will also, through our commissioning assessment role, be examining the responsibility of commissioners to clamp down on poor practice.

Furthermore, there is no excuse for poor data collection and we will be scrutinising providers that perform badly in this domain. Data is critical for seeing how patients gain access to care, how they receive care and what the outcome is. Without it, providers cannot be assessed or assess themselves.

CQC will push hard to protect the vulnerable members of society and to ensure the safety of patients, through our registration enforcement powers if necessary."

 

Source: The CareQuality Commission (England, UK).

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