Southern Health has received the results of a national survey which annually benchmarks the experiences of people using its community mental health services – and the feedback is very encouraging.
Southern Health is one of more than 50 NHS mental health trusts across England which participates in the research, which involved canvassing the views of more than 350 Hampshire service users earlier this year (between February and June 2021).
The Trust’s overall experience rating was 70.3% (above the national average of 68.5%). Of those surveyed, 83.9% agreed Southern Health (slightly higher than the national average of 83.1%) treated them with dignity and respect.
Areas where Southern Health scored highly included: whether a patient was seen enough for their needs in the past 12 months (64.6% compared to the national average of 58.7%); whether patients were given enough time to discuss their treatment (75.6% - more than 4% above the average); and whether patients knew how to contact their team if they had a concern about their care (95.5%). Additionally, the Trust scored 82% when measured against how well their staff organise a person’s care and services and 80.9% (much higher than the national average of 73.4%) in terms of whether patients were clear about who was in charge of their care.
Across the entire survey, there was just one question where Southern Health dropped into the bottom 20% range of scores – and this was in relation to whether respondents had been asked to give their views on the quality of their care in the past 12 months, aside from this annual survey (just 13.9% had).
Beth Ford, Southern Health’s User Involvement Manager (and Service User and Carer Feedback Lead) commented: “I’m really pleased to see that service users are giving us feedback, as it shows that they know we are listening. We are working hard on increasing the different ways we receive feedback, and really welcome everyone’s input as every voice matters.”
“In the main, the results are very reassuring - particularly after the unique nature of care during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s fair to say that we’re moving in the right direction, nonetheless we know there is still room for improvement, and we will be focusing on the areas where our scores were lower - such as better support and signposting to financial assistance, work and physical health needs - to ensure we address feedback from those service users using our mental health services.”
Dan Arnold, who has lived experience of mental illness and, after a career in the Armed Forces, now works for Southern Health in the role of Peer Support Lead, added: “It’s great to see that all the hard work our staff are putting in is making a positive difference to our service users. As Beth said, we do still have a way to go, but some of the comments from surveyed service users – such as “support was available if I was struggling” and “staff make me feel safe and reassured” – is a real boost to hear and exactly why we do what we do!”