Quality statement 1: Empathy, dignity and respect

Quality statement

People using mental health services are treated with empathy, dignity and respect. [2011, updated 2019]

Rationale

To have a good experience of NHS services, people must be treated with empathy, dignity and respect. This is also fundamental for developing good relationships between people providing services and those having care and treatment. The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 made it a statutory requirement that all people who use services are treated with dignity and respect, and the NHS Constitution for England states that patients have the right to be treated with respect and dignity. There can be stigma around mental health problems, which can act as a barrier to people seeking help and accessing mental health services. Therefore, a sensitive, respectful approach is important to encourage people to get the help they need.

Quality measures

Structure

a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that mental health and social care professionals treat people using mental health services with empathy, dignity and respect.

Data source: Local data collection.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that a strategy is developed with other local organisations to combat stigma in the community and the NHS associated with mental health problems.

Data source: Local data collection.

Process

Proportion of people who felt they were treated with respect and dignity by NHS mental health services in the past 12 months.

Numerator – the number in the denominator who felt that they were treated with respect and dignity by NHS mental health services in the past 12 months.

Denominator – the number of people receiving care from NHS mental health services in the past 12 months.

Data source: Local data collection. Questions on treating people with dignity and respect are contained within the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Community mental health survey. This survey is repeated annually and results are available for NHS trusts providing community mental health services.

Outcome

a) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that people using mental health services feel they are treated with empathy, dignity and respect.

Data source: Local data collection. Questions on treating people with dignity and respect are contained within the CQC Community mental health survey.

b) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that people using mental health services feel less stigmatised in the community and NHS.

Data source: Local data collection from local surveys.

What the quality statement means for different audiences

Service providers (such as mental health trusts and community services) ensure systems are in place to give guidance to all staff on how to treat people using mental health services with empathy, dignity and respect; and collect feedback from people using mental health services on their experience of care.

Health and social care staff (such as psychiatrists, mental health nurses, social workers, receptionists and domestic services staff) ensure they treat people using mental health services with empathy, dignity and respect.

Commissioners (such as clinical commissioning groups and NHS England) ensure the mental health services they commission can provide evidence that people feel they are treated with empathy, dignity and respect.

People using mental health services feel they are treated with understanding, dignity and respect.

Source guidance

Service user experience in adult mental health services (2011) NICE guideline CG136, recommendation 1.1.1, 1.1.7 and 1.1.9