Publications/Guidance

Preventing prison suicide: perspectives from the inside This report, written in conjunction with the Howard League for Penal Reform, argues that prisons need to change to enable staff to build relationships with prisoners and reduce the risk of suicide. It focuses on the views and experiences of current and former prisoners about what contributes to vulnerability and what increases or reduces their risk of suicide. Prisoners described a culture where distress was often not believed or responded to with compassion. The report concludes that change needs to happen across the system to recognise the influence of the prison environment on people’s vulnerability.

Lightning review: access to child and adolescent mental health services.  

Some children’s mental health services failing children with life-threatening conditions 

  • 28% of referrals for children’s mental health support are turned away 
  • 14% of children with life-threatening mental health conditions are being turned away from treatment 
  • Children and young people on mental health waiting lists for up to 200 days 
  • 35% of trusts restrict access to children who miss appointments Over a quarter of children (28%) who were referred for specialist mental health treatment in 2015 did not receive a service, according to new information collected by the Children’s Commissioner for England using her unique powers to request data from public bodies. 

Law Society practice note on representation before Mental Health Tribunals This practice note advises on providing legal advice to clients appearing before the First Tier Tribunal (Mental Health) in England and the Mental Health Review Tribunal for Wales. It has information under the following headings: (1) Introduction; (2) The right to legal advice and representation before the tribunal; (3) Communication with the client; (4) Taking instructions; (5) Your duties towards your client; (6) Good tribunal practice; (7) Representing children and young people before the tribunal; (8) More information. It was last updated on 27/5/16 to cover recent case law including YA (see para 4.1), Care and Treatment Reviews (see para 6.2.1) and includes other more minor amendments.

Reforming the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards – emerging solutions. In July 2015 the Law Commission opened a consultation on the law of mental capacity and deprivation of liberty, seeking views on a comprehensive scheme of protective care to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS) and proposing that the scheme be extended to domestic settings. This interim statement This interim statement updates stakeholders on the key issues that have emerged at consultation and some of the Commission's initial conclusions. It concludes that the problems with the DoLS can be resolved only by wholesale replacement of the DoLS and reform of the law. The Law Commission will now produce draft legislation and a final report. 

Mental Capacity and Deprivation of Liberty Interim Statement. The Law Commission have provided an update on their current thinking in relation to the problems with the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards. Their initial conclusion is that the problems can be resolved only by wholesale replacement of the DoLS and reform of the law.

Improving the outcomes of mental health problems among the LGBT community. In this case study Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust share their experience of how they introduced better mental health support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community, and improved understanding amongst local health professionals of the issues faced by them.

Improving the physical health of people with mental health problems – Actions for mental health nurses. New guidance from the DH for mental health nurses will help them to improve the physical health and wellbeing of people with mental health problems. The guidance aims to give those living with mental health problems the same access to health checks and healthcare as the rest of the population, and identifies a number of action areas to improve health outcomes. 

Mental health crisis care: health based places of safety funding. This funding programme aims to increase and improve health based places of safety and continue to reduce police cells being used as an alternative. Bids for a share of the £15 million fund will be managed by the Department of Health. This guidance document sets out how local crisis care concordat groups can apply for funding to increase the capacity and number of health based places of safety. 

Funding mental health at a local level: unpicking the variation. NHS Providers and the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) surveyed finance directors in mental health trusts and chief finance officers in CCGs to understand how the parity of esteem commitment is being implemented locally. The survey found that the government’s commitment to parity of esteem between mental and physical health services is being undermined by a failure to ensure funding increases reach the frontline with only half (52%) of providers reporting that they had received a real terms increase in funding of their services in 2015/16. 

Improving health based places of safety: Guidance for applications for capital funding. The DH is making up to £15m in capital funding available to improve the provision, capacity and quality of health based places of safety to better support people detained under s.136 of the Mental Health Act 1983 and to prevent vulnerable people being held in police cells. This document describes the kind of projects that the Department is hoping to support, and explains how to make an application. The funding is targeted at 23 priority areas, covering 10 police forces, where the use of police cells for those experiencing mental health crises is amongst the highest. 

Fix dementia care: NHS and care homes. An investigation by the Alzheimer's Society has found that almost half of care home managers feel the NHS isn’t providing residents with dementia adequate and timely access to vital services like physiotherapy, continence and mental health services. This has led to instances where people have been left bed-bound, incontinent and sedated because the health service is too slow in responding to their needs. It also revealed that one in five care homes surveyed are being wrongly charged by GP practices for services that should be free on the NHS – up to as much as £36,000 a year. The total cost of GP charges to care homes is estimated to exceed £26m a year.  

News

Inquest finds neglect by the Priory contributed to teen's accidental death. A 14-year-old girl suffered an accidental death contributed to by neglect while under the care of the Priory hospital, an inquest jury has ruled.

Mental health pilot scheme doubles numbers getting key physical health checks. NHS England announces that four mental health trusts have almost doubled the number of people getting five key physical health checks during a pilot scheme now being shared for adoption across the NHS. The two-year improvement programme used the Lester tool, a poster and electronic clinical prompt system to support clinical teams to screen and intervene for cardiovascular conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as smoking, lifestyle and weight. The programme was independently evaluated by the Royal College of Psychiatrists Clinical Care Quality Improvement Unit.

Surgeons can perform hysterectomy on schizophrenic woman. A judge has ruled, in a Court of Protection hearing, that a woman suffering from paranoid schizophrenia lacked the capacity to make a decision about her treatment for ovarian cancer. Mr Justice MacDonald stated that a hysterectomy would be in the patient's best interests after hearing from doctors treating her that she would be unlikely to survive until the end of the year without surgery. Lawyers for the woman said that she had declined treatment and that she wished to have a child.