The English government has announced a broad investigation into inpatient mental health services.
It will look at how trusts can improve young people's care, patients receiving treatment far from home, and how trusts can learn from deaths while under their supervision.
Recent patient deaths in mental health facilities have generated a great deal of concern.
Charities applauded the decision and emphasized the importance of involving patients, families, and caregivers fully.
It occurs at the same time that a mental health patient death investigation in Essex has been upgraded to a full public inquiry with additional powers to compel testimony from witnesses.
Beginning in October, when the Health Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) is formally established, there will be a national investigation.
In both NHS and private services, it will examine a number of issues, including:.
- what medical professionals can learn from patient deaths.
- how to better care for children receiving inpatient mental health services.
- the management of placements outside of the area.
- how many employees are required for inpatient services.
Any evidence will be kept anonymous, according to HSSIB chief investigator Rosie Benneyworth.
It is essential that those affected by subpar care and those working on the front lines of inpatient settings can speak openly about their experiences while feeling confident that HSSIB will use the information to improve care rather than assign blame or liability, the expert stressed.
The chief executive of Rethink Mental Illness, Mark Winstanley, stated that the standard of care provided to those who were most vulnerable had experienced "appalling failures.".
The investigation also needs to have the authority to send out alerts to increase patient safety.
The government must implement the long overdue reform of the Mental Health Act and, through its upcoming workforce plan for the NHS, address the staffing shortage in mental health services, according to Mr. Winstanley.
"We believe that in order to stop more tragedies that could have been avoided and to pave the way for better, safer care in mental health inpatient units, the government must prioritize and take urgent action on these factors. ".
The announcement was deemed "a crucial step in addressing the serious concerns we have about the state of mental health inpatient care in England" by Mind's chief executive Sarah Hughes.
She continued, "It is a tribute to the families who have fought for change as a result of the suffering their loved ones have gone through in mental-health hospitals.
The government has also released the findings of an independent review into inpatient mental health facilities.
More than 300 mental health professionals, including patients, nurses, caregivers, and psychiatrists, were interviewed to learn how data could be used to spot patient safety risks in inpatient mental health settings.
The review's chair, Geraldine Strathdee, admitted that she was taken aback by the workload that data placed on the staff.
She stated that some medical professionals claimed to spend half or more of their time entering data rather than providing patients with direct care and therapeutic treatment.