Driving improvements in mental health care

A person getting counselling.

In 2018 we published Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care. The report highlighted failings in mental health services in England, and the impact this had on patients and their families.

The report also showed the importance of the NHS continuing to focus on improving mental health services. In particular, the failings seen in the cases included in the report echoed the priorities in in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View for Mental Health. We committed to continue to monitor our casework and make recommendations if we did not see evidence of change in mental health care.

In 2019 we published ‘Missed opportunities: What lessons can be learned from failings at the North Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust’. The report focused on our investigations into the deaths of two vulnerable young men. We found a series of significant failings in the mental health care and treatment provided by the Trust.

We recommended that NHS Improvement conduct a review of what went wrong at the Trust, and the learning that can be taken from the complaints. We also published the final investigation report of one of the complaints to further inform the review which NHS Improvement have now started.

Since our report was published, and as a result of tireless campaigning by families affected by failings at the Trust, the Government has announced that an independent inquiry will be held to look at what happened over the last 20 years at the mental health unit of the Trust. This should be reported on in Spring 2023.