The Care Quality Commission (CQC) today published the findings of its comprehensive inspection programme of all specialist mental health services, giving the "most complete picture ever" of the quality of mental health provision for people in England.

Nearly all NHS and independent services were rated as good or outstanding for having caring and compassionate staff (NHS: 88% good, 9% outstanding; independent: 93% good, 5% outstanding).

However, the report identifies several areas of concern:

  • physical environments not designed to keep people safe
  • care that is over-restrictive and institutional in nature
  • poor recording and sharing of information

Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (Lead for Mental Health) at the Care Quality Commission, said: "More than ever before, people are being encouraged to talk openly about mental health conditions and to share their experiences - and more people than ever are receiving treatment and care for mental health conditions, in part due to a reduction in the stigma associated with mental ill health. But this vital work must be supported by services that give people the help they need, when they need it." 

"Some services remain rooted in the past – providing care that is over-restrictive and that is not tailored to each person’s individual needs. This can leave people feeling helpless and powerless. But the best services are looking to the future by working in partnership with the people whose care they deliver, empowering their staff and looking for opportunities to work with other parts of the health and care system."