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CQC asks people to share their experiences of mental health crisis care

19 February 2014
  • Media

19 February 2014

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is reviewing mental health crisis care in England. As part of this we are asking people who have experienced a mental health crisis, or who have supported a friend or relative through one to share their experiences of the help, care and support they received. We want to know how quickly local services responded and whether they helped people to deal with their crises and to recover.

The review is part of the CQC’s response as a signatory to the Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat, which the Department of Health published on Tuesday (18 February). This Concordat is an agreement between key organisations about how public services can best respond when people with mental health problems need help urgently.

A crisis may occur at any time and present itself in a variety of ways. It is important that services provide support when and where it is needed.

Services accessed in a crisis can include those regulated by CQC – such as GPs, community mental health services, hospitals and ambulances. We will also look at those who may have a role to play during a person’s mental health crisis, including Approved Mental Health Professionals and the police.

The majority of the feedback will be collected through an online questionnaire which will be on CQC’s website until the end of April. Visit Tell us about your experience of mental health crisis care.

CQC is also collecting feedback offline and will be encouraging local organisations with first-hand knowledge of how services are working on the ground – including local Mind and Healthwatch groups – to share their views on the help offered to those experiencing a crisis.

CQC will be using the information that is shared with it to:

  • build a better picture of where mental health crisis care works well and where it doesn’t;
  • help select the local areas that CQC inspectors will visit as part of this review;
  • identify specific examples of good or poor practice.

Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Inspector of Hospitals with lead responsibility for mental health, said: “This work is a key contribution by the CQC to the implementation of the Crisis Care Concordat action plan. We know that when a crisis occurs a person may come into contact with their local services in a number of different ways. People who are going through a crisis need the right kind of support quickly. That is why it is so important that when people need help, services respond immediately and work together effectively to meet the person’s needs.”

Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind, the mental health charity, said: "We are very pleased that the CQC has listened to the concerns of organisations like Mind and chosen mental health crisis care services as the focus of a review. When you are in crisis, you need urgent help, just as you would if you had a physical health emergency, but we know that too often people don't get the help they need. Mind has long been calling for improvements to crisis care including, most crucially, access to the right services at the right time. Recent cuts to NHS funding for mental health has had a huge impact on services, with bed and staffing shortages making it even harder for people to get adequate care, so this review is especially well-timed.

"Excellent crisis care does exist and we want to see the services delivered by the best become the basic standard for all NHS crisis care services. The CQC's review can help make this happen. We hope that, together with yesterday's announcement about the crisis care concordat, we are finally a step closer to achieving good crisis care for everyone who needs it, when they need it."

Norman Lamb MP, Minister of State for Care and Support, said: “A mental health crisis can be distressing and frightening for the individual as well as the people around them. People with first-hand experience have an extremely valuable role to play in making sure patients get the best possible care across the country.

“Improving crisis care is a major priority for this Government, which is why we launched the Crisis Care Concordat this week. It aims to reduce the number of people in crisis being taken to police cells instead of to a health setting, and taken in police cars instead of ambulances. The Concordat gives clear guidance for services to work together so that people in crisis get the support they need to recover.”

Later in the year, CQC will publish a report on its findings from the review. This will look at the help, care and support experienced by people experiencing a crisis, including differences in approach across the country and highlighting good and poor practice where this is found.

CQC (@CareQualityComm) and other stakeholders will be taking to Twitter to promote the call for feedback – using #mentalhealth and #cqc.


For further information please contact the CQC press office on 0207 448 9239 or out of hours on 07917 232143.

Notes to editors

CQC inspects and regulate many of the care services that provide a response to people experiencing a mental health crisis including acute and mental health hospitals, community based mental health services, GPs and primary medical services, NHS and independent ambulance providers.

CQC has specific responsibilities to monitor the use of the Mental Health Act and to protect the interests of people whose rights are restricted under the Act. This includes making sure the powers of the Mental Health Act are properly used by the range of professionals involved in its operation including Approved Mental Health Professionals and the police.

People experiencing a crisis will be experiencing a period of acute psychological distress associated with a mental health problem (which may or may not have been given a formal diagnosis). The crisis may be a sudden deterioration of an existing mental health problem or they may be experiencing mental health problems for the first time.

A crisis may manifest in many ways, including a person:

  • being highly agitated
  • being anxious
  • being in despair
  • experiencing suicidal impulses or the need to self-harm
  • being immobilised by depression
  • being frightened within the changed reality of psychosis.

For more information about crisis care, contact Mind on 020 8519 212 or visit Mind's website.

About the Care Quality Commission

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the independent regulator of health and social care in England.

We make sure health and social care services provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care and we encourage care services to improve.

We monitor, inspect and regulate services to make sure they meet fundamental standards of quality and safety and we publish what we find to help people choose care.

Last updated:
30 May 2017