NewsUpdate on inpatient mental health care audit

Update on inpatient mental health care audit

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The Healthcare Services Safety Investigations Body (HSSIB) has officially disclosed the terms of reference for its investigation into mental health settings, aimed at enhancing safety for patients, staff, and communities. The investigation, succeeding the Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB), has been in progress since June of the previous year, meticulously defining the scope and reviewing pertinent evidence.

The overarching objectives of the investigation encompass learning from inpatient mental health deaths, enhancing patient safety, facilitating secure care transitions for young individuals moving from child to adult mental health services, and establishing conducive conditions for staff to deliver safe and therapeutic care.

The comprehensive findings from the HSSIB investigation, which will encompass considerations of patient and staff safety related to allegations of sexual assault and rape, are scheduled to be disseminated throughout the year, with the investigation slated to conclude by the end of 2024. The primary focus is on instigating substantial improvements in patient safety and mental health services within the National Health Service (NHS).

To ensure a thorough and inclusive examination, HSSIB plans to engage with patients, families, carers, and various healthcare organizations at local and national levels.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins emphasized the significance of this review in providing answers and improvements to mental health care. She stated, “Families, staff, and the public deserve answers when things go wrong in mental health settings. This review will identify ways we can improve mental health care, protect patients and the public and create a safe working environment for staff.”

This initiative follows the launch of a specialized review by the Care Quality Commission into Nottinghamshire Healthcare Foundation Trust, particularly focusing on mental health care provision in Nottinghamshire. The review aims to provide answers and insights into tragic incidents, including the killing of Barnaby Webber, Grace O’Malley-Kumar, and Ian Coates by Valdo Calocane, who was being treated for paranoid schizophrenia at the trust.

The investigation by the HSSIB will encompass four key areas: learning from inpatient mental health deaths and near misses, ensuring safe care transitions for young individuals, evaluating the impact of out-of-area placements on mental health patient safety, and creating conditions for staff to deliver safe and therapeutic care, considering aspects such as workforce, relationships, and environments.

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