More than half of patients who seek help with mental health issues in Tayside lack confidence in the service, a new survey has shown.
The questionnaire, carried out by charities including PLUS Perth, revealed many patients worry about their quality of treatment.
Of 286 people surveyed who had received help, 58% were “not confident” NHS Tayside could take care of their mental health needs.
The survey did also contain praise for highly skilled and compassionate professionals working in the service.
Survey results are ‘sobering’
The lead author of the report, PLUS Perth volunteer Rachel Lawrence, said the findings should help improve the experience of patients.
She said: “We are deeply grateful to the people who answered our survey for their bravery and candour.
“Reading their personal stories has been a very sobering experience.
“We are determined to ensure that their voices will help shape the future of the service they rely on.”
Most of those to fill out the survey, which opened in January 2021, had received treatment within the previous 12 months.
The results of the survey, named LISTEN – Experiences of NHS Tayside Mental Health Services, were fed back to independent critic David Strang.
Dr Strang is the chairman of the Independent Inquiry into Mental Health Services in Tayside which found severe failings at all levels.
It was ordered after various reports claimed people were regularly being turned away or ignored when asking for help, or given treatment lacking compassion.
Many of the issues revolved around the Carseview Centre in Dundee, which was the subject of a BBC documentary claiming to “lift the lid” on treatment there.
The results helped to inform David Strang’s progress report which assessed how well the health board was doing in improving patient care.
Feedback ‘vital’ to NHS Tayside
Almost half of survey respondents (48%) came from Perth & Kinross, compared to 35% from Dundee and 14% from Angus.
Responding to the findings, NHS Tayside thanked all those who contributed and said the health board will “carefully review” the outcomes.
A spokesperson said: “One of the five actions in the progress report [by David Strang] published in July is that there should be meaningful engagement with staff, patients, families and carers in the development of future plans.
“The voices of those with lived experience and their families have been pivotal in the improvements which have been recognised across mental health services by Dr Strang over the past 18 months and we want to build on that and make sure these voices are as strong in our future work.”
Important to ‘keep listening’
The health board is now moving to the next phase of its improvement work named Tayside Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy: Living Life Well.
Bosses say the Covid-19 pandemic has only added to the healthcare pressures faced in Tayside and across Scotland and say there is “still much work to do” to overhaul services.
The spokesperson added: “The survey is a reflection of the experiences of people accessing mental health services and therefore it is incumbent on all partners to keep listening, and translate that listening into real learning, as we develop services both in our hospitals and in our communities.
“All partners, including integration joint boards and local authorities, remain signed up to working together to deliver the best mental health and wellbeing outcomes for the people of Tayside.”