Access to mental health services 'patchy'

The standard of mental health care is steadily improving, but those who need it cannot always access it, according to the Healthcare Commission.

Nearly four fifths (78 per cent ) of respondents to the watchdog's annual mental healthcare survey rated their care as ‘excellent', ‘very good' or ‘good'.

But there are still concerns about whether community mental health services are accessible to all people who need them and whether patients are truly involved in decisions about their care.

Forty five per cent of regular mental health care users still do not have access to an out-of-hours number to call in a crisis, despite it being highlighted as a concern in last year's survey. 

Although a greater share of service users report that they are involved in decisions about their medication (44 per cent), almost a third (32 per cent) say that they were not told about possible side-effects of their medication.

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