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Some improvement in patient experience in community mental health services

Community mental health services in Cumbria have made improvements to patient experience over the past 12 months.

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) have published results of their annual survey of mental health services provided by Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust.
At the start of 2015, a survey was sent to 850 people who used Community Mental Health Services, asking them about their experiences of the care and support they receive. 247 people responded and the results show that the Trust is performing in line with the national average.

In Cumbria, the results also show that there have been some clear areas of improvement since last year’s survey:

• Service users were asked if they know who is in charge of organising their care – the Trust scored 8.4 out of 10 for this, compared to 6.4 in 2014.
• Those who know who is in charge of their care were asked if they were able to contact that person if they had any concerns. The Trust scored 9.7 out of 10 compared with 8.5 last year.
• Last year the Trust scored just 5.5 out of 10 when service users were asked if they had a formal care review meeting to discuss how their care is working in the last 12 months. Now that score has increased to 8.0 out of 10.

When service users were asked to rate their overall experience of using community mental health services, the Trust scored 7.0 out of 10, which is the same as last year.
Nichola Sanderson, Associate Director of Nursing for Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:

“We are very keen that the voice of the service user and carer is listened to at every opportunity and the community mental health survey is a really important part of us understanding and listening to the their views. We are pleased that we are performing in line with national standards, and have made some significant improvements to patient experience in the past year. For example we have implemented clearer pathways for patients who require urgent mental healthcare to ensure that they can access support sooner in which we have involved carers and service users to ensure we are meeting the needs of all. We have also launched our carer’s strategy this year.

However, there is much more to do and we are working to develop our services so that they are more focussed on supporting people with mental health problems to recover and living as independently as possible.”

The survey asks service users about whether they felt they were treated with dignity and respect and whether they felt involved in decisions about their care. Across England over 13,000 people have been surveyed to assess patient experience on a local and national level.