We are improving say mental health bosses

SWINDON’S mental health service is still missing its target for patients to be seen within four hours – but bosses say it is getting closer.

A year ago the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust was criticised in an independent report for being too target driven to the detriment of patient care.

The report was requested by the NHS South of England Patient Safety and Care Standards Committee following an inquiry into two murders committed by former patients.

A follow-up report in May described the trust as unrecognisable but said more had to be done for users.

While still short of the national four hour waiting time target, AWP is focusing on ensuring that patients at risk of harm are swiftly identified by its crisis team and that staff have a better understanding of the type of help those with mental health issues in Swindon need and deserve.

In September 87.1 per cent of all patients were admitted to a unit in less than four hours, failing to meet the UK-wide 98 per cent target. But this was a significant increase from the 74 per cent recorded in July.

The trust said an overhaul of the health service, complete with a new management team and better supervision and training of employees, has led to better care and, gradually, quicker response time for patients.

While some cases are considered to be emergencies, which need to be dealt with within four hours, others are deemed urgent – meaning AWP will have 24 hours to treat patients or refer them to the right ward.

But confusion around the definition of emergency – serious cases where someone‘s life or the life of his relatives may be in danger- and urgent caused many staff to put down a majority of cases as emergencies, creating more pressure on units across Swindon, and seriously affecting the quality of care provided.

An AWP spokesman said: “Several actions have been taken to ensure emergency access to crisis intervention services within four hours. There has been a complete review of how we work to make sure there are no delays.

“There has been awareness training about the difference between emergency and urgent cases to ensure better understanding and improve patient care. Equally there has been a review of all systems and processes.

“Whilst it appears that that we are in a fourth month where performance is below the 98 per cent target, the 81.7 per cent figure does not reflect the effects of these improvement measures.”

Comments (1)

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10:34pm Tue 3 Dec 13

underdogs says...

' Mental Health bosses may say we are improving ', but I doubt if the mental health patients would say the same ! AWP MHP have rightly been criticised through this paper over many years, and whilst there are some very good frontline staff, the overall service is still substandard from my experiences of them ! Why didnt the Adver run the story recently about the investigation into the falsification/altera
tion of patients records at this trust, after 30 social workers working for wiltshire council whistleblew ?
' Mental Health bosses may say we are improving ', but I doubt if the mental health patients would say the same ! AWP MHP have rightly been criticised through this paper over many years, and whilst there are some very good frontline staff, the overall service is still substandard from my experiences of them ! Why didnt the Adver run the story recently about the investigation into the falsification/altera tion of patients records at this trust, after 30 social workers working for wiltshire council whistleblew ? underdogs

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