Understanding how quickly people are able to access services, the quality of care they receive, and their outcomes is vital to good health care planning and delivery. Data on mental health is collected by a number of national health bodies but consistent and reliable data still lags behind other areas of health services.
Similarly, reviewing the recruitment, retention and morale of the workforce, the funding available to deliver mental health services and the leadership capability across local areas is essential in understanding why some services are performing well, while others lag behind.
Good information about this exists, but it is not analysed in a co-ordinated way.
Mental Health Watch seeks to address some of these issues.
However, gaps in the availability of data remain.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists recommends that NHS Digital prioritises the collection of data for the following 5 indicators in 2019:
- Referral to treatment waiting times for access to evidence based perinatal mental health services
- Collection and recording of routine outcomes measures for perinatal mental health care
- Proportion of children and young people showing reliable improvement in outcomes following treatment and proportion of CYP aged 0-18 inclusive meeting their mutually agreed goals against number of children and young people accessing services.
- Outcomes measure for integrated IAPT services
- Proportion of cases (adult and CYP measured separately) who receive mental health treatment following a referral for mental health support from learning and disability services.
While data relating to the prevalence of mental illness or the mental health care provided by public health, education and social care services is outside the scope of Mental Health Watch, more work is needed to ensure data can be linked across public agencies.
This aligns with the recommendation from the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health for the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England, Public Health England and NHS Digital should develop a 5-year plan to address the need for substantially improved
data on prevalence and incidence, access, quality, outcomes, prevention and spend across mental health services.