Monday, 10 December 2018

CQC Launches a Review into the Management of Patients with Mental Health Problems, a Learning Disability and/or Autism

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, has asked the CQC to review the use of restrictive interventions in settings that provide inpatient and residential care for people with mental health problems, a learning disability and/or autism.

Interim findings and recommendations are expected in May 2019, with the full report scheduled for release by March 2020.

Concern has been raised over the use of physical restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation
in wards for people of all ages with a learning disability and/or autism and in secure and rehabilitation mental health wards.

The review will consider whether seclusion and segregation should be used in registered social care services for people with a learning disability and/or autism and how they should be used.

Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals (lead for mental health), said:  “There is understandable public concern about the use of restraint, prolonged seclusion and segregation for people with mental health problems, a learning disability or autism. It is vital that services minimise the use of all forms of restrictive practice and that providers and commissioners work together to find alternative, and less restrictive, care arrangements for people who are currently subject to seclusion or segregation. Failure to do this has the potential to amount to inhuman and degrading treatment of some of the most vulnerable people in our society.

“We welcome the Secretary of State’s commission for CQC to undertake a thematic review of this important issue. The review will examine the range of factors that lead to people being subject to restraint, prolonged seclusion or segregation, and will assess the extent to which services follow best practice in minimising the need to use force. The experience and perspective of the people affected by these practices, either as a patient or as a carer, will be central to this work. It is vital that society protects the rights, welfare and safety of children and adults with a mental illness, learning disability or autism and that they receive the safe, high quality care that they deserve.”

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Universities Urged to do More to Support Students at Risk of a Crisis

Higher education representatives have been told to take another look at their approach towards involving a student's family and friends (those listed as emergency contacts) when it is clear that the student is at risk of a mental health crisis.

Education Secretary, Damian Hinds has written to Julia Buckingham, who is chairing a roundtable on student mental health, asking the sector to maintain the focus that has been built up in recent months following the Student Mental Health Summit that was held at the University of the West of England in June 2018.

The event, hosted by Universities UK (UUK), will aim to develop advice for universities on consent for the disclosure of information about severe student difficulties to third parties. Giving universities clear guidance on this issue will ensure young people struggling at university will have every possible chance of receiving help from someone in their domestic support network. This is particularly important for students studying away from home, who may have a reduced support group.

Damian Hinds said "Ensuring that university students, many of whom will be leaving home for the first time, are supported is a key challenge for my department and the higher education sector as a whole.

Our universities are world leading in so many areas and I want them to be the best in the world for support and pastoral care as well. Ensuring that universities get better at reaching out to family members if a student is struggling with mental health is a big step along the road to delivering that ambition.

I’ve made clear to the sector how important this issue is and now I want them to work together to find a clear way forward so young people can get support from every person and organisation best able to give it.

In a recent Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) survey, 75% of applicants to higher education expected universities to contact a parent or guardian in situations where they are faced with serious challenges relating to their mental health.

The new UUK advice will need to build on this by giving 100% of students every possible opportunity to choose to receive care from families and trusted friends alongside the support they get from student welfare teams and the NHS."