Publication date: 31 Oct, 2023
The Commission published a major report on care and treatment for people with mental ill health and drug or alcohol issues, and linked with NHS Education for Scotland to create new training materials for staff working in health, social care and social work settings about the use of incapacity laws.
Reflecting on the year Sandy Riddell, chair of the Mental Welfare Commission, spoke about continued staffing pressures in mental health and learning disability services. He said:
“Last year I raised concerns over staff pressures across mental health services and I do so again this year. We regularly find that wards and services are understaffed, which can mean that activities for people being cared for are curtailed or postponed. In many cases there is a long-term reliance on bank and agency staff, which can be disconcerting for individuals and is not sustainable for continuity of care.
“Amidst these concerns, I am always amazed and heartened to see feedback from people receiving care and treatment, and from families, on how kind and compassionate they find ward and services staff to be. That is ever more difficult when working under such pressure. We at the Commission will do all we can to encourage staff recruitment and retention in mental health and learning disability services”.
Julie Paterson, chief executive, Mental Welfare Commission, spoke about work done on behalf of Scottish Government, and reiterated her commitment to following through on all the Commission’s calls for improvement. She said:
“We completed work on two projects for Scottish Government. One was related to deaths of people detained for care and treatment under the Mental Health Act. The other was connected to homicides by people who were, or had recently been, in receipt of mental health services.
“For both projects the purpose was to propose new systems of investigation in Scotland. Our work included a mix of reviews of other jurisdictions’ systems, consultation, and individual investigations into cases in Scotland. A lot of learning went into these projects, and we will use that in our continuous improvements of the Commission’s own investigations work, as we await the government’s decision on the continuation of the broader projects.
“More widely, we publish many reports every year with the purpose of showing how care and treatment are being delivered for people. While a significant amount of work goes into each of our reports, we are very aware that publication is not the end of the process. We need to keep in contact with every organisation we have asked to make improvements to make sure our recommendations are implemented. To help that process, we now publish closure reports outlining how well our recommendations have been acted upon, usually a year after every national report. You can find these on our website”.