Summary of report content
Healthwatch Southwark carried out a survey to identify areas of unmet need in community adult mental health services and make recommendations on how to address them. 81 people responded to the survey, including 71 service users and 10 carers.
The feedback was mostly positive around experiences of Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in terms of access, suitability, impact, and staff. However, more specialist or secondary care services such as the Integrated Psychological Therapy Team (IPTT), Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), Assessment & Liaison (A&L), and Eating Disorder and Personality Disorder services were rated more negatively.
The key areas of unmet need within adult community-based services included issues with referral and assessment processes, lack of information about the services available, the processes and waiting times. In addition, there was unmet service provision and barrier to access for people with experience of autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), personality disorder, and serious mental illness.
Based on the findings in the report, recommendations include improving the accessibility and flexibility of services, enabling more communication, transparency, and accountability with patients, reducing waiting times, increasing service user and carer representation in decision making, prioritising staff continuity and developing clearer pathways, and a proper step-down care service that includes assessment following treatment and discharge.