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Community mental services 'must improve'

Community mental health care must improve, the NHS quality regulator has claimed. 

A national survey commissioned by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) revealed concerns that there is a lack of involvement for patients in creating their own care plans. 

More than 13,000 people answered the survey over the past 12 months, including 58 trusts in England who provide mental health services. 

Some respondents who have a care plan do not fully understand it (14%) - many are unsure if they do actually have one. 

Also, some care plans do not explain what people should do if they have a crisis (49%), and too few people have had a care review in the past year to discuss their care (47%), the results show. 

However, most people responded positively to questions about the health or social care worker they saw most recently, with the majority (70%) saying they 'definitely' had enough time to discuss their condition and treatment, 78% saying they were 'definitely' listened to carefully and 72% of people saying their views 'definitely' were taken into account.

Respondents were asked to rate their overall experiences on a scale of 0-10. Most people (67%) responded positively rating their overall experience as a '7' or above.

David Behan, CQC chief executive, said: “It is unacceptable that fewer people have adequate care planning than last year. It is also unacceptable for care plans not to include adequate crisis care management or for people to be poorly informed about the drugs they take.

“This survey provides valuable intelligence about the experiences of people who are being supported by community mental health services. The survey describes some very positive experiences and flags where services can and must improve.”