US News

Tayside-wide survey of mental health experiences shows falling confidence

A survey charting the experiences of people who have needed mental health services in Tayside shows a rising proportion feel they are under supported.

Around 400 responses came in to the 56 questions put to the public between January and April this year.

PLUS Perth, along with Dundee Healthy Minds Network, Angus Voice and several members of the Stakeholder Participation Group (SPG), had urged the public to speak up and complete the survey in order to direct future service improvements.

A report published this week examined the survey answers and headlined with a drop in public confidence in NHS Tayside’s mental health services.

The percentage of respondents describing Tayside ’s mental health services today as ‘excellent, very good or good’ fell from 58 per cent in 2017 to 36 per cent now.

The report noted service users in Tayside complained of ineffective listening and not being able to access help in a crisis.

The report’s lead author and analyst was Rachel Lawrence, a member of the Stakeholder Participation Group (SPG) and volunteer with of PLUS Perth.

Rachel said there were “some very encouraging findings” and added that many respondents praised “highly skilled and compassionate individuals and teams within the service, including individual doctors, community psychiatric nurses and the intensive home treatment team”.

In summing up, the survey report asked that as well as service users, NHS Tayside should listen to mental health service staff “so that their suggestions for how problems can be resolved are given due consideration”.

More than half of respondents said they were ‘not confident’ in the services they were receiving from NHS Tayside

The survey followed NHS Tayside’s mental health services being scrutinised by Health Improvement Scotland, the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland and an independent inquiry headed by Dr David Strang, initiated by the Scottish Government.

An action plan was produced by the health board in response to the independent inquiry’s critical final report released in February 2020.

But Dr Strang’s progress report from July 2021 said that NHS Tayside “is rushing to make changes to the service without first having a clear understanding of the matters that need to be resolved or how to address them”.

Ms Lawrence continued: “The recommendations from our survey…all centre on the word ‘listen’, the first commitment of NHS Tayside’s Action Plan.”

The 2021 survey reveals that only 14 per cent say they feel ‘highly confident’ in the mental health support offered by the health board.

The survey report stated: “The service users who completed our survey were a lot less happy with their care than the service users who responded four years ago.

“The changes to the service that have been made in response to the inquiry recommendations do not appear to be benefiting many service users.”

It said in its concluding page: “Each of our recommendations is presented with examples of missed opportunities for listening to, and learning from, service users, staff and others.”

Susan Scott, manager of PLUS Perth said: “The impacts of very slow to non-existent responses and support for people in mental distress is sadly felt by many – people struggling and left unsupported, or unable to access help when they really need it.

Susan Scott, manager of PLUS Perth urged her members to report their experiences - good and bad
Susan Scott, manager of PLUS Perth urged her members to report their experiences – good and bad

“The survey report outlines an institution-centric service which does not meet the needs of the people it serves.

“Many of the serious issues reported such as ineffective listening and people not being able to access help in a crisis are instantly recognisable in other health board areas.”

Responding to the views of service users, a spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “We will now take the time to carefully review the outcomes of today’s full survey report and consider the report’s recommendations as part of our ongoing programme of work.

“The voices of those with lived experience and their families have been pivotal in the improvements which have been recognised across mental health services by Dr Strang over the past 18 months and we want to build on that and make sure these voices are as strong in our future work.

“We are currently moving to the next phase of our improvement work and that is the development of an implementation plan for the Tayside Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy: Living Life Well which was published in February 2021.

“We know it is important that [service users and families] voices continue to be heard and their experiences help us shape the long-term future of services.

“We have acknowledged that there is still much work to do and we remain realistic about some of the challenges ahead.

“However, the survey is a reflection of the experiences of people accessing mental health services and therefore it is incumbent on all partners to keep listening, and translate that listening into real learning.”




Source link

Back to top button