Musings of a phenomenologist

Science, psychiatry and random musings

More joyful BBC reporting.

Posted by soveda on September 11, 2008

Just a very quick note today, the BBC seem to be having a glut of mental health reporting.

Today’s exciting story is this:

Mental Health care is still flawed

It starts:

“Almost half of community mental health patients in England are unable to access any out-of-hours care, an NHS inspectorate survey suggests.”

Now this is an important survey as we have been historically poor at mental health care support. And this is why the Fair Deal campaign has been started. The past problems with community care have been well documented (Zito trust website , BBC archive) and concerns about appropriate support for those suffering from mental health problems should be raised, I’m not sure what if anything the latest BBC article adds.

If we take the first statement in the article (perhaps the only thing people scanning the site will see) it suggests that half of individuals with mental health problems do not have access to out of hours care. However, if you scroll down a bit you will se that this statement is based on the following finding:

“Almost half (45%) of service users had no access to a crisis number to call out-of-hours – although the proportion is rising.”

I’m not suggesting that this statement be spun as “over half of service users had access to a crisis number to call out-of-hours (although that statement is also correct) because that would be misleading. What we do not know is whether people had access to any other alternative crisis services through their local hospitals, such as those A&E departments that are staffed full time and include psychiatric emergency services. I understand that these services are stretched and may be difficult to access but they are also possible access points for out of hours care/assessment.

To me this is an important figure:

“Overall, most of the 14,000 respondents rated their care highly, with 78% describing it as “excellent”, “very good” or “good”. “

Surely we should be celebrating this whilst  still aknowledging that things should be better. This is the Health Care Comission’s own news report, same facts but with a twist. That’s right they have the previous data and are reporting the improvements and the failures to improve.

So you can decide for yourselves I have the link for the actual survey results. It’s not too long but a bit full of figures.

For a bit of contrast these BBC articles (hidden away in the Magazine section) are great introductions to  interpreting statistics and numbers:

Surveys

Counting

Percentages

Averages

Causation

Doubt/Confidence

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