The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) has warned politicians and service providers that they must act following the publication of a new report by the Care Quality Commission that questions the extent to which the basic human rights of people detained under the Mental Health Act 1983 are being supported.
According to the Mental Health Act Annual Report, there is evidence of people not being involved in their care and services failing to cope with the pressure placed on them by a culture that prioritises control and containment over treatment and support.
This is not only having an negative impact on the individuals affected, but also on the people with jobs in social care who do not have the necessary resources to provide the support that is required.
The CQC is responsible for auditing all adult social care services in the public, private and voluntary spheres, as well as dental practices and, from later this year, GP surgeries.
It based its report on findings amassed from 1,546 ward visits between 2011 and 2012, concluding that while there had been some overall improvements, the majority of the concerns noted in its previous report had not been adequately addressed.
The report highlighted "themes that recur year-on-year" and create an image of mental health provision practices that are a long way from the vision set out in policy.
Responding to the report, the BASW's England Professional Officer Joe Godden said that the report highlights many concerns that will be familiar to social care workers.
"These include serious pressures due to bed shortages, poor alternatives to hospital services and the continued over-representation of black and ethnic minority patients among people detained under the Mental Health Act or subject to community treatment orders."
He urged ministers, care trusts and social service departments to take the report seriously, stating that it is "unacceptable" the same problems keep on being raised but not properly addressed.
"Poor care plans for far too many people is stressed yet again by the CQC, as are the continued unacceptable problems preventing Approved Mental Health Professionals from undertaking their work properly."
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