Oxfordshire’s services for people experiencing a mental health crisis have been praised by inspectors from the Care Quality Commission as being well co-ordinated and responsive to the diverse needs of their users.
Care regulator the CQC published ‘Right here, right now’ today, a national report looking at people’s experiences of help, care and support during a mental health crisis. The report concluded that people’s experiences of services varied greatly across the country according to where they lived, however that in Oxfordshire ‘people experiencing a mental health crisis had access to a range of services, provided by staff committed to providing good care’.
The report follows an inspection of services for those in crisis provided by a range of organisations, including Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, that took place in January 2015. Inspectors focused on people who presented at accident and emergency departments, people known to services and receiving ongoing support from specialist mental health services and people detained under section 136 of the Mental Health Act.
“We found that there were strong structures in place supporting multi-agency working in crisis care across Oxfordshire,” say authors of the report. “Meetings with representation from the local authority, local acute trusts, the mental health trust, local CCG and other organisations including the police, ambulance service and voluntary sector organisations helped ensure that information and learning was shared across systems.”
Highlighted as areas of particularly good practice were the ‘Street Triage’ initiative, where mental health nurses work alongside the police to assess people in the community experiencing a crisis, and the overall consideration of diverse needs of different groups, including students and homeless people. The report also commended the strong multi-agency working that takes place in the county, where there is a joint commitment to achieve positive outcomes for people experiencing mental health crises.
Director of nursing for Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust Ros Alstead said: “We welcome this report’s findings, especially the fact that inspectors found our staff and those of our partners to be committed and compassionate, and that our broad range of services responded well to the needs of those in crisis. While there were a small number of recommendations in the report, which we are collectively addressing, on the whole it painted a positive picture of services for those in crisis in Oxfordshire.”