Mental Health Act 1983 — [Ms Karen Buck in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 3:20 pm on 25th July 2019.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 3:20 pm, 25th July 2019

This comes back to housing. One challenge is getting access to a bed, and another is when the person comes to leave, because we need to discharge people into safe living environments. Are there enough supported housing solutions? No, not always, so the bed remains full. I am having conversations with colleagues in local government to see what more we can do to deliver more supported housing so we can get the pathway going. We could fix it by making more beds available, but that is not really the answer. I am concerned that the longer we leave people in in-patient care, the more harm we do. We have to get that movement through the system. Hopefully, if we do that, people will be less likely to grab the first bed because they can be confident that more will become available more frequently. That is where we need to get to. I appreciate that right now it feels desperate.

There is an issue with quality. The Care Quality Commission has a challenge in deciding whether more harm will be done by taking enforcement action on a place rather than working with it to improve. We see that writ large in TV programmes such as “Panorama”. There is a massive disparity in the quality of care. I challenge the CQC to be a lot more aggressive when we see poor standards of care.

The hon. Member for Bristol East mentioned private providers. People have heard of The Priory. They hear that celebrities go there and they think it is a centre of excellence. The truth is that the care there is less than optimal, but someone with a loved one who needs hospital treatment will not know that. We need the CQC to have a lot more teeth in terms of improving what comes out of its inspections. The system generally needs to support it in doing that.