People's experience of mental health services in North Tyneside

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Summary of report content

In 2015 Healthwatch North Tyneside undertook research to understand the views of local people about mental health services. North Tyneside faces particular challenges with regards to mental health services – data shows that suicide rates are higher than the rest of England and the borough faces higher than average rates of attendance at A&E of people reporting mental health problems. The aim of this report is to gather, understand and articulate the views and experiences of people who have used mental health services in North Tyneside in order to improve services. The research involved setting up a project team comprising of service users, carers, public health and local community groups, meetings with North Tyneside Council and the CCG, a survey, six focus groups and outreach work. The key issues at each stage of the service user’s ‘journey’ are identified in the report: - Entering the services: service users encounter difficulties in finding the right service; long waiting times; improvements are needed to ease access in a crisis, and also to the quality of support given and the level of support provided after the initial crisis has passed. - Receiving services: treatment is largely viewed as positive by service users in aiding their recovery; concerns raised about initial assessments and management of medication; suggested improvements included having a more multi-disciplinary approach and greater service user involvement in decision-making about individual treatment and more broadly. - Leaving services: service users reported that discharge and transition to other services is not well planned and support is not in place. - Other issues: staffing was the most commented on issue and needs to be addressed – particularly with regard to staff having the right skills, staffing levels and continuity of care when staff are absent; families and carers reported that the barriers preventing them from having more involvement in care included the issue of confidentiality and not knowing who to contact in a crisis; service users feel that austerity measures have disproportionately affected mental health services and led to closure of critical services. The report makes 13 recommendations split between the Health and Wellbeing Board (1), commissioners (2) and providers (10). The recommendations cover the following: strengthening the monitoring of mental health services with increased service user engagement, supporting the voluntary sector to provide more mental health services, creating a single access point of access for all community based services, reducing waiting times, supporting carers, increasing staff training and developing a clear support pathway for those in crisis. The report contains the full formal responses from providers (Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust) and commissioners (North Tyneside CCG and North Tyneside Council). The provider addresses each recommendation providing details on what is already in place and in some cases what additional action could be taken. The commissioners stated that points raised in the report would be (or had been) taken on board via mental health strategies and action plans – however they also provided some additional information to push back on some of the issues raised in the report. The CCG emphasised that the limited availability of resources would impact the extent to which the outcomes desired by the report could be achieved. Healthwatch North Tyneside recognises that their research fed into the development of the Mental Health Strategy in North Tyneside. They also identified mental health crisis services as an area in need of further investigation and will therefore focus next on people’s experiences of crisis care services within North Tyneside.

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General details

Report title 
People's experience of mental health services in North Tyneside
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Tyneside
Date of publication 
Thursday, 1 September, 2016
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 October, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 16 November, 2015
Type of report 
Key themes 
Consent to care and treatment
Continuity of care
Cost of services
Information providing
Integration of services
Quality of care
Quality of treatment
Service closure
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff levels
Staff training
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Other information of note about this report 
Young Carers
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Focus group
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Counselling/improving access to psychological therapies (IAPT)
Psychiatry/mental health (hospital services)
Mental health services 
Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS)
Community mental health team (CMHT)
Depression and anxiety service
Mental health crisis service
Mental health recovery service
Older peoples mental health community service
Psychiatry / mental health (other services)
Social care services 
Adult social care
Extra care housing services
Residential care home
Community services 
Community based services for people with mental health needs
Urgent and emergency care services 
Accident & emergency

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Other population characteristics 
People who misuse drugs
People with limited family or social networks
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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people'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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Network related impact

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.