Most patients and carers were satisfied with the service they received, with the care and compassion shown by most staff resonating strongly and significantly contributing to their perception of good, responsive care.
However, poor continuity of care in terms of patients seeing the same professional did undermine patients’ overall experience, as seeing different staff made it harder for patients to build up trust and a rapport with the team. More work could also be done to improve the standardisation of interventions offered across appointments, where patients should always be offered the opportunity to engage in learning about recovery techniques rather than appointments just being used as check-ups on their mental state. Finally, patients also expressed significant interest in enhancing the team's provision of cognitive behavioural therapy to help better manage crisis symptoms.
The main pressure on the team appears to stem from capacity issues in local recovery and support teams (also known as community mental health teams). This can result in excess referrals and an excess number of patients active on the HTT’s caseload if they are not able to discharge patients safely, thereby pushing it significantly above the number of patients they are commissioned to provide for.
South West London & St Georges' NHS Trust have recognised these as areas of improvement and are committed to making changes. Work is currently being undertaken by the Trust to improve crisis care services and we have agreed to meet in 3 months' time to review the progress achieved so far.