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Labour fury as 40% of NHS mental health services rated unsafe

Emilio Casalicchio

2 min read

Labour has lashed out at the Government after it emerged 40% of NHS mental health services in England are falling below safety standards.

According to a major report assessing every mental health service in the country, 36% needed improvement while 4% were inadequate.

Meanwhile 34% of independent mental health trusts require improvements on safety and 4% are inadequate, according to the Care Quality Commission.

Overall, about a quarter of both NHS and independent services required improvement, with 1% of both types rated inadequate.

Elsewhere in its 'State of Care in Mental Health Services' report the CQC said 45% of forensic services - which care for those who pose a danger to others - were unsafe.

And it said: "On too many wards, the combination of a concentration of detained patients with very serious mental health conditions, old and unsuitable buildings, staff shortages and lack of basic training, make it more likely that patients and staff are at risk of suffering harm.

"More than 50 years after the movement to close asylums and large institutions, we were concerned to find examples of outdated and sometimes institutionalised care."

It also raised concerned about the high numbers in ‘locked rehabilitation wards’ which it said left people "isolated from their friends and families".

Shadow mental health minister Barbara Keeley said: “Despite Theresa May vowing to tackle the “burning injustice” of the shortfalls of mental health provision, this report reveals the Tories’ true record on mental health: waiting times increasing, falling numbers of mental health nurses, patients being sent many miles from home for treatment and one in four mental health services being given the poorest ratings by the Care Quality Commission.  

“It is especially concerning that 40% of mental health services are failing on safety grounds, which means patients are being put at risk.

“Staff working in mental health services are clearly doing the best they can. But for too long this Government has been running mental health services on the goodwill of staff, rather than providing the investment that the services so desperately need.

“Labour will invest more funding in mental health services and we will ring-fence funding to ensure it reaches frontline services, rather than being used to plug funding gaps elsewhere in the NHS.”

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