Mousie has kindly shared thoughts in comments here that an explanation of good mental health services was necessary.
I work in a mental health Trust that delivers, I believe, good mental health care. I've an appraisal in a couple months (a subject to blog about at another time) and part of the information gathering that managers undertake for this, generating an entire lever arch file full of objective evidence, shows exactly what I do and what the sector I work in as a whole is like.
- In the last 12 months every urgent referral from a GP has been seen within 4 hours.
- In the last 12 months every routine referral from a GP has been seen within 10 days.
- My access time for my next out patient clinic slot is under one week.
- In the last 12 months every patient of mine needing a hospital bed has been admitted immediately (with no wait time from blocked beds).
- In the last 12 months every routine liaison referral from medical/surgical wards has been dealt with within 5 days (some within an hour, most by the next day).
- In the last 12 months the number of patient clinics cancelled at short notice (defined as within 6 weeks of their appointment) : 0
- Average number of professionals involved : 3 (eyeballing it it's averaging a community nurse and me for most folk, with a social worker or occupational therapist or support worker or psychologist or memory clinic nurse too).
- In the last 12 months every patient discharged has had a letter written by me with summary including a diagnosis and risks and medication and interventions and follow up completed and signed before the patient leaves the ward, to be mailed to the GP.
- In the last 12 months every patient discharged has had a full discharge letter sent to the GP within 2 weeks.
- In the last 12 months every patient needing Mental Health Act 1983 assessment has been seen by me within 2 hours of the request (and only 2 of my patients have been detained).
- I've had letters of gratitude and praise, which of course is always welcome.
- I've had no complaints (verbal or written) about me or the service which in mental health seems amazing.
- Our Primary Care Trust gave extra cash to us this year (to offset the 2.5% "efficiency saving" the DoH forces on every hospital every year) because the PCT loves us. They let me prescribe what I want and aren't trying to limit drugs even when NICE are.
- meeting with GPs in the sector, they're strangely enthusiastic about our service and haven't had any axes to grind.
So everyone is seen within 2 weeks (urgent problems are seen that day), everyone can access a Consultant within 1 week (urgent problems are seen that day), all communication is prompt and there's good support from GPs and the PCT. The wards are new, every patient has their own room with ensuite, their own space and privacy.
It's not magical, it's just the sort of service I'd want for me, or my nearest and dearest. So that's the service we try and deliver. After all, who pitches up to work wanting to give a bad service? It's more satisfying for us this way as well as being responsive for our patients.
It's just to say that it is possible to have what I'd see as good mental health provision in the NHS.