Psychiatrists are ‘more trusted’

Psychiatrists are becoming more trusted by their patients, according to a national survey.

Six in ten (63%) of community psychiatric patients said this year they definitely had trust and confidence in their psychiatrist. This is up from 59% in 2004.

One in ten (9%) of community patients said they had no trust and confidence in their psychiatrist.

And 82% of community patients say their psychiatrist definitely treats them with “dignity and respect”. This is up from 79% from 2004. Only 3% said their psychiatrist did not.

The results were from an annual Healthcare Commissionsurvey of 14,000 patients living in the community in England.

The survey reported that 86% of patients said they were definitely treated with respect and dignity by their community psychiatric nurse. Two per cent said they were not.

But the survey revealed that almost half (45%) of service users had no access to a crisis number to call out-of-hours.

And only four in ten (40%) said they were definitely told about possible side effects of their medication. This was up from 36% from 2004. Three in ten (32%) said they were not told of any side effects, down from 35% in 2004.

Anna Walker, chief executive of the Healthcare Commission, said the survey showed a “steady improvement” in how service users rate key aspects of their care.

However, Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity Sane said: “Nine years ago, we were given guidelines which said that people with severe mental illness should be able to access appropriate services 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. This report shows we still have a long way to go.”

Professor Louis Appleby, the national director for mental health, said the results showed “hugely encouraging” improvements.

However, he added: “We are still making improvements including giving people more choice in the way they are treated.

“Our programme of expanding psychological therapies, backed with £173m in funding by the third year, will help achieve this.”

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