Quality statement 6: Access to services

Quality statement

People can access mental health services when they need them.

Quality measure

Structure:

a) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure agreed referral methods are in place between primary and secondary care.

b) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people with a non-acute referral to mental health services have a face-to-face appointment that takes place within 3 weeks of referral (or within 2 weeks of any change of date).

c) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure service users are seen within 20 minutes of the agreed appointment time.

d) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people in crisis referred to mental health secondary care services are seen within 4 hours.

e) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure service users have access to a local 24-hour helpline staffed by mental health and social care professionals.

f) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure crisis resolution and home treatment teams are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, regardless of diagnosis.

g) Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that people admitted to a 'place of safety' are assessed under the Mental Health Act within 4 hours.

Process:

a) Proportion of people with a non-acute referral to mental health services who had a face-to-face appointment that took place within 3 weeks of referral (or within 2 weeks of any change of date).

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who had a face-to-face appointment that took place within 3 weeks of referral (or within 2 weeks of any change of date).

Denominator – the number of people with a non-acute referral to mental health services.

b) Proportion of service users who were seen within 20 minutes of the agreed appointment time.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who were seen within 20 minutes of the agreed appointment time.

Denominator – the number of service users with an agreed appointment time.

c) Proportion of service users in crisis referred to specialist mental health services who were seen within 4 hours.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who were seen within 4 hours.

Denominator – the number of service users in crisis referred to specialist mental health services.

d) Proportion of people admitted to a 'place of safety' who were assessed under the Mental Health Act within 4 hours.

Numerator – the number of people in the denominator who were assessed under the Mental Health Act within 4 hours

Denominator – the number of people admitted to a 'place of safety'.

Outcome:

a) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that service users with a non-acute referral had a face-to-face appointment that took place within 3 weeks of referral (or within 2 weeks of any change of date).

b) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that service users with an agreed appointment time were seen within 20 minutes of that time.

c) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that service users are able to access a local helpline 24 hours a day.

d) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that service users in crisis referred to specialist mental health services were seen within 4 hours.

e) Evidence from experience surveys and feedback that people admitted to a 'place of safety' were assessed under the Mental Health Act within 4 hours.

What the quality statement means for each audience

Service providers ensure systems are in place to provide access to mental health services when needed.

Mental health and social care professionals ensure services users can access mental health services when they need them.

Commissioners ensure they commission services that provide access to mental health services when needed.

People can access mental health services quickly and easily when needed.

Source guidance

'Service user experience in adult mental health' (NICE clinical guidance 136) recommendations 1.2.1, 1.2.3, 1.3.6, 1.5.5, 1.5.6, 1.5.7 and 1.8.8.

Data source

Structure: a) to g) Local data collection.

Process:

a) The outpatient commissioning dataset contains the data needed for calculating waiting times for non-acute appointments. More information available at HES Online.

b) to d) Local data collection.

Outcome: a) and b) Local data collection.

c) Providers may be able to use questions contained within the national patient surveys available from NHS Surveys. The NHS community mental health survey (Q36 to 39) contains questions on the accessibility of out-of-hours phone numbers.

Definitions

The Mental Health Act 1983 (amended 1995 and 2007).