Welsh mental health charity Hafal responds to review of CMHTs

Responding to the “Joint Thematic Review of Community Mental Health Teams” by Health Inspectorate Wales and Care Inspectorate Wales, Hafal’s Chief Executive Alun Thomas said:

“The Review recognises a disparity and variability in the standards, consistency and availability of treatment, care and support provided by Community Mental Health Teams across Wales, and this  ‘postcode lottery’ is certainly the experience of our clients and Members.

“We are particularly concerned about the identified lack of involvement of service users and carers in writing Care and Treatment Plans. The Review misses the point that if there isn’t involvement of the service user and carer in producing a Plan then it’s not in fact a Care Plan as defined in legislation and the Code of Practice: so the report that 89% of service users received a “valid” Care Plan is misleading since the great majority of these Plans were written without involving the service user. What is clear from the Review is that in many cases CMHTs are only paying lip service to writing care plans, denying service users their legal right to have a comprehensive care plan which they and their carer are involved in writing and which captures their views and goals.

“This is not just a problem of inaccurate reporting but an indication that a great opportunity is being lost. Care and Treatment Plans offer the chance to modernise services and reflect the values of coproduction which is at the core of the Welsh Government’s approach to health and social services.

“The Review also confirms the experiences of many of our Members in recognising that some service users experience a delayed response when referred to CMHTs. As a result they can end up in crisis and having to attend A&E departments. When a person is referred to secondary services it is vital that they receive these services as quickly as possible. It is simply unacceptable that delayed treatment should lead to crisis and potential hospital admission – at great cost to the individual and to the NHS.

“The Report rightly recognises that psychological or therapeutic services are often unavailable to people receiving secondary services who need them most and the Review is correct to call for urgent action to address this shortfall in service provision.

“As a service user and carer-led charity we would welcome the opportunity to work with CMHTs to resolve these issues. We would also be interested in working with the two Inspectorates to help them make user and carer involvement a core criterion for their assessment and scoring of services”