Report: Mental health care in England 'inadequate'

People who need urgent mental health care in England, often say they get better assistance from the police than staff in Accident & Emergency units or community mental health teams, a new report has found.

The Care Quality Commission reviewed the help given to people in mental health crisis, which includes people who are suicidal, having serious panic attacks or psychotic episodes.

A survey carried out as part of the report found that just a third (34%) of those who went to an A&E department said they were treated with warmth and compassion and only 35% said they received the help they needed in a timely way.

But nearly two thirds (65%) said the police gave them the help they needed, higher than the half (52%) who said this was true of their GP or community mental health team (28%).

Charities and volunteers were overwhelmingly seen as offering the most caring and effective help while ambulance staff, GPs and telephone helplines also scored well in some categories.

The CQC said the report reveals that public services need to "wake up" to gaps in mental health crisis care, with concerns that local authorities, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups are failing to work together to make sure that people in their local areas have access to crisis care around the clock.

"One of the clearest findings from our call for evidence was that people are not satisfied with how A&E departments respond to people in crisis," the report said.