By 2015 all specialist mental health services in England will be inspected and rated by experts and service users.
Trusts will be inspected by teams made up of service users as well as experts and will be given one of four Ofsted-style ratings ranging from outstanding to inadequate in the hopes that the changes will mirror those that made to the inspection regime for acute NHS services.
If a trust is found to inadequate or its leadership found wanting the CQC will propose to the NHS regulator Monitor or the Trust Development Authority that it be put into special measures, reports the Guardian.
“It’s important that when we get to 2015, we have a set of indicators that model mental health services against acute services and primary care,” said Sir Mike Richards, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals.
Sir Richards also said that soon he would appoint a deputy chief inspector with a “particular interest in mental health”.
This new regime, which excludes primary care, will have a particular focus on the rights of detained patients and recognise that they constitute the only group of people who are detained against their will.
Inspectors will investigate deaths of people under mental health care, the growing number of people that are admitted to hospitals far away from their home area because of severe pressures on their local acute or admission wards, and “interfaces” which include the transition between child and adolescent mental health services and adult services.
Prior to an inspection as much as information as possible will be obtained from service users within the trust and people with experience of being patients in other areas will be brought in to help with the assessment.
Paul Farmer, chief executive of Mind, said: “We are talking about some of the most vulnerable people in our society. For that reason and that reason alone, it’s important there is a strong regulatory framework.”
Jenny Edwards, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, said: “We strongly welcome the commitment to hear the voice of people who have experience of mental health issues.”
The first five inspections will take place between January and March next year.
What do you think of this? Tweet us your comments @suppsolutions