“A&E staff are often unsympathetic to patients suffering a mental health crisis and judgmental about injuries they have inflicted on themselves,” stated The Guardian about a report from the Care Quality Commission. After investigating the country’s hospital emergency departments, the Commission found doctors and nurses to be “unhelpful,” and lacking in “basic respect” towards people suffering emotional crises. And those professionals with higher levels of mental health training were often rated the worst by patients.
According to The Guardian, they CQC report found that, “Unhelpful attitudes among doctors and nurses towards people having delusions or panic attacks or contemplating suicide compounds their mental distress.”
The CQC’s deputy chief inspector described the behavior of emergency department staff as “shocking,” and the Commission’s report stated that “far too many people in crisis have poor experiences due to service responses that fail to meet their needs and lack basic respect, warmth and compassion. This is unsafe, unfair and completely unacceptable.”
The Guardian also reported that, “Many survey respondents told the CQC that the police and ambulance services were much better at helping them than the three key types of NHS teams that are trained to do so, namely A&E staff, community mental health teams and crisis resolution home treatment teams. GPs, however, received good ratings.”
A&E staff attitudes to patients in mental health crisis ‘often shocking’ (The Guardian, June 12, 2015)