Leading article: Scandalous failure to care for those most in need

Share
Related Topics

Mental illness is on the rise. It has also become one of the biggest, and least-resourced, burdens on the Health Service. Which is why successive government have been so keen to move the problem out of the expensive care of hospitals into the more diffuse, and less expensive, mercies of the outside community.

The move has come with its own problems of distraught families, overstretched local social care services and the personal tragedy of individuals left unsupported in the street. That much is well attested, if too little addressed. But what has received less attention, and even less care, is the fate of those who have remained in care. By their nature, their illnesses are more severe and their situation more desperate than those let out. And yet their plight has remained largely unsung.

Yesterday's report by the Healthcare Commission, described without exaggeration as the "largest-ever review of acute inpatient mental health services", goes some way to restore the balance. Its picture of the comparative quality of services (why must every government report now be couched in terms of comparative rating – which only confuses the issues) is a disturbing one.

Not one of the trusts reviewed scored "excellent" across all four key criteria. Only 10 per cent were generally "excellent". Well over half were judged as only "fair" or "weak". The healthcare watchdog is at pains to point out that there are a number of trusts that provide very good care – showing that it can be done. But the worrying feature of the report is that these tended to be in lower-population areas. The big urban trusts were largely found wanting.

It doesn't take a great deal of intelligence, or even research, to work out the basic difference between good and bad care. Strip the report of its jargon (of which it is distressingly full) and you find that at the best hospitals patients are involved in their treatment, are kept in a safe environment and that their cases were monitored by outside services.

Look at the majority of hospitals and you find that in only half the cases were patients involved in their care plans, that hospital security was lax, violence against staff all too common and relations with services in the community lacking.It's a picture that the families and friends of those committed to hospital know all too well. But it is a story that no civilised society should tolerate.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

South Africa's race problem is less between black and white than between poor blacks and immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa

John Carlin
Queen Elizabeth II with members of the Order of Merit  

Either the Queen thinks that only one in 24 Britons are women, or her Order of Merit is appallingly backward

Janet Street-Porter
Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...