Healthcare watchdog, the Healthcare Commission, have released the findings of a national study into older people’s mental health services, which praise the work of services provided by South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust. The work of the Healthcare Commission has now been taken over by the Care Quality Commission, but the study was conducted by the Healthcare Commission.
To inform the report, called ‘Equality in Later Life,’ the Commission visited the Trust, along with five other specialist mental health NHS organisations and met with over 600 people including chief executives, senior managers, ward staff, service users, carers, social workers and commissioners. It held interviews and workshops with people at each trust to identify what was working well and what needed to be improved in mental health services.
The study covered four themes; age discrimination, quality of inpatient care, how comprehensible services are and how organisations work together to provide services. As a result of the study into the six NHS trusts, the Commission raised concerns over discrimination against elderly people with mental health problems, but felt South West Yorkshire Mental Health Trust’s older people’s services offered a comprehensive range of specialist services.
The Commission was also impressed with the service’s commitment to maintaining privacy and dignity for elderly patients, its close partnerships with stakeholders and outside agencies, and the level of training given to staff.
More… After carrying out interviews, the Commission found that service users and carers at South West Yorkshire Mental Health NHS Trust were very positive about the care and treatment they had received. Staff were also positive, especially in relation to the development of the service over the last few years and their involvement in the shaping of that development.
Areas in which the service was told it could do better included involving service users and carers more in the planning and development of services and providing more age appropriate activities for service users that they find meaningful and want to take part in. The Trust is looking at how it can make further improvements in these areas.
The Trust’s assistant director of older people’s services, Sue Barton, said "We were delighted with the feedback from the Healthcare Commission as a result of the study. It highlighted the things we are getting right, which has spurred us on to do even better, but also shed light on the areas that need more work, and helped us focus on how and where to make improvements."
She continued, "Being included in the report was a good opportunity for the Trust to share its good practice with other organisations across the country and has given our hard working and dedicated staff some well deserved recognition."