Tayside mental health service has ‘long way to go’

Posted: 15th July 2021

Longer-term improvements to Tayside mental health services still have “a long way to go”, according to a progress review.

A 2020 report said Tayside staff in the sector had been left “demoralised” by a “culture of fear and blame”.

The new review said a “great deal of positive work” had been carried out.

But there were “missed opportunities” for listening to people and “engaging with partners” to build trust.

NHS Tayside said the new report “recognises good progress on improvements to services”, but acknowledged that “challenges remain in a number of key areas”.

 An independent inquiry into mental health services in the region was launched in September 2018 and took evidence from more than 1,500 people.

The final report “Trust and Respect” was published in February 2020 and made 51 recommendations for improvements in mental health services.

The new review criticised the fact that two of the report’s most important recommendations had been given a status indicating that the “outcome was complete”.

These related to developing a working culture built on trust and respect, and ensuring staff had the confidence to raise any concerns or issues.

It said: “Despite these being long-term cultural change recommendations, they were both designated Green status within 11 and 13 months of the Trust and Respect report’s publication.

“It is not credible or realistic that culture change of such magnitude could be implemented in such a short time.”

 Independent scrutiny

The review said that the response to all of the recommendations should be subject to some form of independent scrutiny “to assess more accurately the progress that has been made.”

It added: “This would result in a more realistic assessment of the rate of progress and how much remains to be implemented further.”

The new progress report highlights the “key elements which need to be addressed” over the next two to four years.

David Strang, chairman of the independent inquiry said: “It is commendable that a new strategy for mental health, Living Life Well, has been developed, given the extraordinary demands of responding to the coronavirus pandemic.”

“However, there remains a long way to go to deliver the longer-term improvements that are required.”

 NHS Tayside Chair Lorna Birse-Stewart said the health board had accepted all 51 recommendations in the original report.

She said that the board’s Listen Learn Change action plan was published in August 2020 despite the “uncertainties and demands of the intensive first phase response to the pandemic”.

Mrs Birse-Stewart added: “Since then, our mental health and learning disability workforce have worked hard to make the necessary changes and improvements to deliver many of the actions set out in the plan, as well as respond to the unprecedented challenges and increasing demands of the pandemic, both in our hospitals and in our communities.”

 Source: BBC

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