Service users' experience of community mental health services

We explore service users' experience of community mental health services.

Indicator

Last updated: 26/04/2019

Patient experience
Primary and community care Emergency care Mental health

Background

Understanding what community mental health care is like for service users provides key information about the quality of services across England. The NHS Constitution commits the NHS to encourage patients to give feedback on their experiences and to use this to improve services. The Community Mental Health Survey asks a sample of service users from each trust several questions about their experiences.


How have service users' overall experiences of community mental health services changed over time? 24/04/2019

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The Community Mental Health Survey asks service users to rate their overall experience from 0 (very poor) to 10 (very good). The proportion of people rating their overall experience as very poor has increased by 1% since 2014, with 4% of respondents giving a score of 0 in 2018. Meanwhile, the proportion of service users reporting a very good overall experience has decreased by 1% since 2014, although this has fluctuated over time.

In comparison with other national patient surveys, community mental health service users rated their overall experience of services the least favourably. The most recent survey data shows that only 17% of Community Mental Health Survey respondents rated their experience as very good, compared with 27% of Emergency Department Survey respondents, 28% of Adult Inpatient Survey respondents and 37% of Children and Young People's Survey respondents (rating their child’s experience).


Have there been changes in support for community mental health service users? 24/04/2019

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Service users are asked whether in the last 12 months NHS mental health services have given them any help or advice with finding support for various aspects of their lives. Physical health needs are the best supported, with the lowest proportion of service users reporting that they had not been given any help or advice. Help with finding or keeping work and financial advice or benefits are less well supported.

The proportion of service users who reported that they did not receive any help or advice to get support for finding or keeping work, or financial advice or benefits, both increased from 44% in 2014 to 47% in 2018. Support for physical health needs has also worsened, with 35% of respondents stating that they received no help or advice in 2014 compared to 39% in 2018.


Do service users feel that they are given enough time to discuss their needs and treatment? 24/04/2019

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The proportion of Community Mental Health Survey respondents who felt they were given enough time to discuss their needs and treatment has decreased over time, falling from 90% in 2014 to 87% in 2018. Between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of people who felt they were not given enough time increased from 10% to 13%.


Do community mental health service users have regular care review meetings? 24/04/2019

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Once a mental health care plan has been agreed, it is important for service users to have regular review meetings with their care coordinator to ensure that support continues to meet their needs. Service users are asked whether they had a formal meeting with someone from NHS mental health services to discuss how their care was working in the last 12 months. In 2018, 71% of respondents stated that they had a formal meeting with someone from NHS mental health services to discuss their care in the last 12 months.


Do service users know who to contact out of hours if they have a crisis? 24/04/2019

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Community Mental Health Survey respondents are asked if they know who to contact out of office hours if they have a crisis. Between 2014 and 2018, the proportion of respondents who knew who to contact if they had a crisis increased from 68% to 71%.


Do service users get the help they need if they have a crisis? 24/04/2019

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Respondents who knew who to contact out of hours in a crisis and had tried in the previous 12 months to make contact were asked, "When you tried to contact them, did you get the help you needed?". This survey question changed slightly in 2018 to ask, "In the last 12 months, did you get the help you needed when you tried contacting this person or team?", so the results are not comparable.

Between 2014 and 2017, the proportion of respondents who definitely got the help they needed decreased from 45% to 39%. Meanwhile, the proportion who did not get the help they needed increased from 21% to 26%. In 2018, 49% of respondents definitely got the help they needed out of hours in a crisis, but 18% did not and 3% could not contact the person or team.


About this data

The Community Mental Health Survey is sent to a random sample of service users from each trust aged 18 and over who received specialist care or treatment for a mental health condition within a specified time period.

The survey asks people about their overall care, crisis care, access and coordination of care, patient involvement, medicines and additional support.

Respondents who stated that they did not know/could not remember are excluded from the survey results. To enable national comparison between years, data is weighted to account for differences in response rates between trusts. A further weighting accounts for differences in response rates at a given trust in a given year, across age groups or gender.

The Community Mental Health Survey underwent two major redevelopments in 2010 and 2014 to revise its methodology and questionnaire content to refle

The Community Mental Health Survey is sent to a random sample of service users from each trust aged 18 and over who received specialist care or treatment for a mental health condition within a specified time period.

The survey asks people about their overall care, crisis care, access and coordination of care, patient involvement, medicines and additional support.

Respondents who stated that they did not know or could not remember are excluded from the survey results. To enable national comparison between years, data is weighted to account for differences in response rates between trusts. A further weighting accounts for differences in response rates at a given trust in a given year, across age groups or genders.

The Community Mental Health Survey underwent two major redevelopments in 2010 and 2014 to revise its methodology and questionnaire content to reflect changes in policy and best practice.

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