Royal College of Psychiatrists responds to CQC report of the state of care in England

Press release
21 October 2022

Today (Friday) the Care Quality Commission (CQC) released their annual assessment of the state of health and social care in England. 

The report found that too often people are not able to access the care they need, and highlighted workforce shortages across all sectors that need to be addressed. 

The CQC found that health and care staff want to provide good, safe care but are struggling to do so in a gridlocked system. This is reflected in growing public dissatisfaction with health and care services – which is mirrored in staff dissatisfaction.

The report also highlighted specific concerns about the care for people with a learning disability and autistic people – areas where inspections continue to find issues with culture, leadership, and a lack of genuine engagement with people who use services. 

President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, Dr Adrian James said:

“The CQC annual state of care report makes it undeniably clear the pressures facing mental health services. Services are struggling to cope and there are simply not enough psychiatrists to meet the current demand.

“We know that nearly a quarter of mental health patients wait more than 12 weeks to start treatment, and more than three quarters of those are in a hidden waiting list and were forced to use emergency services or a crisis line in the absence of mental health support.

“Not only are the spiralling mental health waiting times wreaking havoc on patients’ lives, they also leave NHS services with the impossible task of tackling rising demand. 

“Early intervention is vital to prevent people reaching crisis. Yet the report shows patients with a serious mental illness, particularly children and young people, people with learning disabilities and autistic people, are being let down with devastating consequences for them, their families and carers.

“There is a crucial need for a funded multiyear workforce strategy that outlines how the government will grow and retain the psychiatric workforce, and how it will consistently monitor progress so that it can change course where necessary. 

“It takes 13 years to train a consultant psychiatrist, so there is no excuse for a lack of longer term planning, planning which is needed now.”

This week the College announced the return of the annual Choose Psychiatry recruitment campaign.

This year the campaign is aimed at encouraging both medical students and foundation doctors to Choose Psychiatry, and core trainees to remain in the profession and continue to Choose Psychiatry. 

More information

Hidden waits force more than three-quarters of mental health patients to seek help from emergency services.

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