Mental Health Services: unmet need in Southwark

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Mental Health Services: unmet need in Southwark
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Southwark
Date of publication 
Thursday, 3 February, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 7 July, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 31 August, 2021
Key themes 
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Mental health services 
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Eating disorder services
Mental health crisis service
Mental health recovery service
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)
Community services 
Community based services for people with mental health needs

Details about conditions and diseases

Types of long term conditions 
Mental health condition

Details of people who shared their views

Age group 
All people 18 and over
Prefer not to say
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.