Monitoring the Mental Health Act 2022/23: key points to note

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) published its latest annual report on 21 March 2024. There are 76 pages to be digested.

The report is based on the findings from 860 monitoring visits carried out during 2022/23. This involved speaking with 4,515 patients and 1,200 carers. Other work that informed the report included 2,759 complaints and 87 Independent Care Education and Treatment Reviews. Further stats are set out at pages 66-72.

In the foreword, Chris Dzikiti, director of mental health, highlights four key points:

  1. Workforce retention and staffing shortages: These remain one of the greatest challenges for the mental health sector. CQC highlight the effect this is having on the quality of care and the safety of both patients and staff. This is particularly noted in respect of patients detained in the three high secure hospitals.
  2. Lack of specialist beds: There is concern that this is leading to care in inappropriate settings or in hospitals far away from home. CQC state that they are committed to understanding why this is continuing to happen and to working with stakeholders to design and implement solutions for now and the future.
  3. ICBs and ICSs: Play a key role in bringing services together and ensuring services are joined up. CQC will be assessing how well they are working although it announced a delay to ICS inspections on 4 April 2024. 
  4. Draft Mental Health Bill: CQC are disappointed it was not mentioned in the King’s Speech. However, they observe that legislation alone won’t bring the changes needed and that better funding, improved community support and investment in workforce are essential.

There's a lot to digest, and no doubt lots of these areas will be discussed in detail at the forthcoming NHS Confederation Mental Health Network Annual Conference. We look forward to seeing you there!

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