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Ombudsmen release joint guidance to tackle common mistakes in aftercare of mental health in-patients

The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) and the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman (LGSCO) have released new guidance to tackle common and repeated mistakes seen in the aftercare of patients receiving support under the Mental Health Act.

PHSO and LGSCO work together on complaints that involve both health and social care bodies. The guidance brings together common themes seen in their joint investigation work. It includes practical recommendations for councils and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to make improvements and avoid the mistakes of others. From July 2022 Integrated Care Boards will replace CCGs, for better joined up health care. This guidance will support practitioners in delivering a continuity of care during this transition.

Councils and CCGs have a joint responsibility to provide or arrange free aftercare for adults, young people, and children until they are satisfied the person no longer needs it. These responsibilities are set out in the Mental Health Act Code of Practice. They aim to reduce the risk of worsening the person's mental health condition and reduce the risk of needing further hospital admission.

Through a series of case studies, the guidance draws attention to recurring mistakes seen in the joint investigation work of PHSO and LGSCO when there are misunderstandings between a council and CCG about their collective responsibilities; these include:

• care planning for patients

• funding for aftercare

• accommodation needs

• ending mental health aftercare.

For the guidance, click here and follow the link at the top right of the page opened.

8/4/22