LETTER: Mental health - Patients are being ‘let down’

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One in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year yet often mental health care falls below the standards we should expect.

Last week we revealed that some of our most vulnerable patients, many of whom have complex mental health conditions, are being badly let down by the NHS, causing them needless suffering and distress.

In our report Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care, we found that some patients are not being treated with dignity and respect of their human rights and this is further compounded by poor complaint handling.

Our investigations shine a light on severe failings but this is not done to attribute blame. We aim to ensure that the organisations complained about make changes to prevent the mistakes happening to others. In this instance, this is to ensure that mental health patients get access to the treatment and support they need.

This is only possible due to patients and their families taking the important step of complaining when things go wrong. The vast majority of complaints are resolved locally.

However if you are not satisfied, you have the right to bring it to us – the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - for an independent and impartial view.

Rob Behrens

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

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