CQC and Mental Health Act Code of Practice

Earlier this summer the CQC published this report.

The headline being that the Code of Practice is not being used as it was intended due to a lack of awareness and understanding of the statutory guidance amongst providers and staff.

They looked at 3 key areas:

  • Understanding and application of the guiding principles
  • Engagement and involvement of patients
  • Local area working and s140 MHA

Worryingly some providers had not updated their training to reflect the 2015 Code.  CQC note that training and support are essential for all staff involved in caring for detained patients.

CQC noted ongoing difficulties with providing IMHA support.

Interestingly the report notes the growth in size of the Code from 135 pages in 1993 to 459 now.

Commissioners also come in for criticism.  They note that only 2 CCGs have a s140 policy in place.  The report states that commissioners are not doing enough to make sure they are meeting their statutory obligations.

They made 4 recommendations to DHSC for them to.   

  • Develop standardised resources, support and training for patients, carers and staff so that they understand how the Code applies to individuals, practice, services and local partnerships.
  • Promote the use of the guiding principles to improve practice and enable meaningful engagement with families and carers. The guiding principles need to be recognised as a support tool for human-rights based approaches by staff and services.
  • Make sure that the Code of Practice gives clear and consistent guidance on providers’ governance arrangements. This includes guidance on ensuring that how the MHA and Code are being applied is reported on at senior leadership level.
  • Improve the usability and access to the Code of Practice, taking into account the way the Code is intended to be used in practical situations between patients and their care team. This should include considering how to make the Code digitally accessible to patients, carers and clinicians. For example, a search function with accessible links to other relevant guidance would enable professionals to find relevant guidance quickly to support their day-to-day work.

They are engaging with the next phase of the Independent Review of the MHA.  They also highlight that those drafting the LPS Code of Practice should consider their findings too.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like us to work with your teams to deliver MHA training in house.

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