RCPsych welcomes HSIB report on ‘Care delivery within community mental health teams’

Statement / comment
23 March 2023

Today (23 March) the Health and Safety Investigations Branch (HSIB) has published its report on care delivery within community mental health teams (CMHTs).

The report recommends that trusts should move away from ‘standardised’ scoring tools that categorise a patient as ‘high, medium or low risk’, since they are a poor predictor of repeated self-harm or future suicide. 

Instead, drawing upon a range of evidence, including an investigation case study, it emphasises the need for a shift to person-centred self-harm and suicide assessments by CMHTs for those at risk of self-harm and suicide. By doing this, the Report indicates there is an opportunity to make real improvements in patient safety. 

It also makes a specific recommendation to the Royal College of Psychiatrists to form a working group with relevant stakeholders to identify ways in which menopause can be considered during mental health assessments. 

Commenting on HSIB’s report Dr Adrian James, President of the Royal College of Psychiatrists said:  

“This report provides an important opportunity to improve the quality and impact of assessments carried out by Community Mental Health Teams, for patients at risk of self-harm or suicide. The implementation of these recommended changes will increase patient safety across services, changing their lives for the better.

“Across all mental health conditions, a person-centred approach to treatment, rather than a tick box exercise, is far more effective in aiding patient progress and recovery, especially for those living with severe illness. We are glad to see this advice highlighted in the report’s findings on such an important area.

“In line with national guidance, we encourage individualised assessments and advise against a broad patient categorisation of risk. We are also taking part in the development of more suitable assessment and documentation methods, including working with NHS England on drafting new best practice guidance. 

“Today’s report also provides a much-welcomed focus on the links that exist between the menopause, which affects around half of the population, and low mood. We are currently considering how best to implement the recommendation of a working group to support better care in this area.

“Looking forward to working with relevant stakeholders, we will do all that we can as a College to ensure this report and its recommendations have their intended impact, continuing to put patients at the heart of what we do.” 

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