Healthwatch Gloucestershire and Evolving Communities recently gathered and analysed patient feedback about mental health A&E care in local hospitals. Their report, Experiences of urgent mental health care in accident and emergency: A Gloucestershire perspective, makes several recommendations for how services could be developed to put mental health care on a part with physical health care in the county.
Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has welcomed the report and is using the Healthwatch Gloucestershire’s recommendations to inform ongoing improvement to A&E mental health care.
Professor Steve Hams, Director of Quality and Chief Nurse, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said:
“We welcome the report from Healthwatch Gloucestershire and the valuable insight it provides. The report will be used to strengthen our ongoing improvement in supporting patients with mental health conditions accessing our urgent care services. This is an important area of focus for us and one that our Governors are keen to work with us on – this work is important and continues to be one of our priorities for the year ahead.
“We have an exciting opportunity to work in partnership with patients and communities to improve the physical environment within our hospital sites, in order to better support individuals experiencing mental health crisis. We want our hospital to feel as safe and calming as they can be and actively want to work with people with lived experiences of mental health crisis and further shape our services.
“Caring for those with urgent mental health needs in Gloucestershire is a responsibility for all health organisations across the system. We are keen that Gloucestershire Hospitals play its part in providing a responsive, kind and focused service to our patients and their loved ones. We recognise there is still more for us to do, and the report gives us some helpful areas to further strengthen our work with patients, their loved ones and our community.”
Helen Webb, Healthwatch Gloucestershire Manager, said:
“There has been a lot of national attention on mental health recently, so this is a timely report showing the experiences of people when they are in need of urgent care. We are grateful to those who took part in our research because we understand that their experiences are not always easy to talk about. We are pleased with the positive and detailed response from the NHS providers in Gloucestershire and we will be following this up to track the progress being made towards improving facilities and services.”