Almost half of mental care service users are without access to out-of-hours care, accoding to a Healthcare Commission survey published today (Monday 3 September).
While survey results showed access to out-of-hours care via telephone had improved, with 52% saying they had an emergency contact number (up from 49% last year), this still leaves almost half without emergency access.
The survey also found that more than one in three service users who wanted counselling said they did not get it, and only half who wanted information on local support groups received this.
However, service users said there had generally been improvements in their care – a greater proportion of those with complex needs know who their care coordinator is, and are being offered copies of their care plan.
Of the 15,900 people surveyed, 76% felt the services they received were "good", "very good" or "excellent". This is on a par with previous years.
The national survey, coordinated by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), was carried out in spring 2007 by 69 trusts. It aims to provide a "snapshot" of the experiences of people using community mental health services in England.
Currently, one in six adults in the UK has a mental health disorder, meaning mental health services are a crucial part of modern healthcare.