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Government to investigate mental health inpatient care

Government to investigate mental health inpatient care
By Jess Hacker
6 July 2023

The Government will launch a national investigation into mental health inpatient care, the health secretary has announced.

Investigators will consider a range of issues, including how providers can learn from deaths that occur in their care and how many staff are needed in each service.

Health secretary Steve Barclay said the investigation will open in October with the establishment of a new Health Services Safety Investigations Body.

Mr Barclay’s announcement aligns with a separate rapid review, published 28 June by parliamentary under secretary of state for mental health Maria Caulfield, into how data is used to identify risks to patients in mental health inpatient settings.

This review advised NHS England to establish a programme of work alongside ICBs, the CQC and provider collaboratives, to agree that all bodies are collecting data to measure ‘what matters’, and consider what enablers are needed to reduce the burdens around sharing data.

ICSs and provider collaboratives should also map out the pathway for all mental health services they cover to establish ‘which parties need access to relevant data’ at all times.

The review added that both parties should also make sure their staff are sufficiently trained to handle mental health data.

It said: ‘They should also bring together the mental health population leads from across their footprint to map out the mental health needs of their local populations and the potential for primary, secondary and tertiary prevention as well as equitable access to safe therapeutic services.’

Additionally, ICSs should incorporate the mental health estate fully into their system-wide infrastructure strategies due by December 2023. This should include a review of the estate.

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