During March and April of 2017,
SpeakUpCIC circulated a survey that we had created to capture the feedback of
people using, or having experience of the statutory mental health services in
Kent and Medway. We had a good response to the survey and these are our
Access to services: We asked if the person had accessed mental health services and, if they had not, what the reason for this was. Of the 10% of people who had not accessed mental health services, 43% of those said that they had not accessed services because the GP did not refer them into the service. We also asked how long the wait had been to be given an appointment for those who had been referred to secondary mental health services. While 9% said that the wait was less than expected and 48% said that the wait was about right, 16% said that it was longer than expected and 27% said that the wait was so long that it made their condition worse.
Quality of service: We asked how people would rate the welcome and respect that they received from the staff when accessing the service. 50% of the people rated the welcome and respect that they received as either excellent or good, with 33% saying that it was okay. However, 17% said that the welcome and respect that they received was poor or terrible. We also asked how people would rate the standard of care that they received from the service. 43% of people rated the standard of care that they received as good or excellent, with 32% saying that it was okay. However, 25% said that the care received was either poor or terrible.
Demographics and conditions: Of those surveyed, 40% said that they suffered from anxiety and 24% identified as suffering from depression. 82% identified as service users and 18% identified as a carer or relative. The results came in from across Kent and Medway with 29% from Thanet, 10% from Medway, 16% from Ashford, 14% from Tonbridge and 10% from Deal. The results came from predominately female respondents with only 25% male and 68% female. The largest age bracket identified by those surveyed was 50-64 years old with 46% of the results and 28% coming from 24-49 year olds. 74% of those surveyed identified as having a mental health disability and 85% identified as White British.
Summary and analysis: More than half of the people (57%) have said that the wait to be seen was less than or about what was expected. This is largely positive as one of the biggest complaints that SpeakUpCIC have seen during their work as a Service Users’ Forum provider has been the delay in being seen by secondary services. It is positive to see that this is, from those surveyed, only affecting a minority. However, 43% of people are still experiencing difficulties in the length of time before being seen. Just over a quarter of people (27%) expressed that the wait was so long that they felt it worsened their condition.
What can be learnt from this?: With the current strain on secondary services it is understandable that a delay in being seen is experienced. However, a significant portion of people are saying that the wait was long enough to worsen their condition. All this does is add strain to an already strained system. There needs to be systems in place to ensure that the needs of the service users are known and, also, are routinely updated if anything should change. Staff as well as funding issues within the NHS is a national problem, however more needs to be done locally to make sure that service users are not being left to worsen because there is not adequate provision to see them. This leads to a knock-on effect of numerous other services such as A&E, Crisis Home Resolution Team, Mental Health Secondary Services, Kent Police and others.
With the vast majority of people (83%) saying that the welcome and respect they received from staff was okay or better, this reflects what SpeakUpCIC hear, generally speaking, anecdotally from service users; that the staff are doing everything that they can to provide the best care that they can. And, on the whole, they are doing this successfully. This is also backed up by KMPT routinely being ranked quite favourably for their staff during CQC inspections. There is still room for improvement, however, as 10% of those who didn’t rate it okay or better rated it terrible.
What can be learnt from this?: With 83% of people satisfied with the welcome that they received it is clear that there are fantastic examples of good practice within secondary services. A very small minority said that the welcome was less than okay and, while some dissatisfaction will be unavoidable, it is important that the good practice is highlighted and the teams learn from this.
Three quarters (75%) of people said that the quality of service that they received was okay or better. Again, this is largely positive and reflects that, generally speaking, the service that mental teams are providing is adequate. However, there are still a quarter of those surveyed (25%) who said that the service was either bad or terrible. This represents a significant portion of those surveyed who have had negative experiences when using mental health services. Also, the biggest proportion of people (32%) said that the service was okay.
What can be learnt from this?: The majority of people surveyed what they deemed to be an adequate service. However, there will be clear examples within the 43% who said that they received better than adequate services of good practice. This should be highlighted and replicated across the board so that nobody is receiving a negative experience and that as many as possible receive better than an okay service.