IMHSA: Crisp Commission report sets out welcome recommendations to improve patient access and outcomes in mental health

Responding to today’s launch of the final report from Lord Crisp’s Commission on Acute Adult Psychiatric Care, Independent Mental Health Services Alliance (IMHSA) Chair Joy Chamberlain said:

“The Commission’s report sets out a number of welcome recommendations to drive improvements in the provision of acute adult psychiatric care. If implemented we believe they will go some way to improving patient outcomes and access to essential mental healthcare.

“IMHSA particularly welcomes the Commission’s recommendations on new waiting time pledges, increased accountability and a move away from out of area placements, and partnership working between providers and commissioners to share resources and simplify local system structures. These are all areas that IMHSA recommended action on in our recent report, “Breaking Down Barriers: Improving patient access and outcomes in mental healthcare”, and we welcome the Commission’s focus on them.

“It is positive that the Commission also highlights the independent sector’s important role in the provision of specialist services and the additional skills and capacity the sector can offer. IMHSA’s members could offer much more support in this respect and improve patient access to services. As the Commission recognises, better engagement with the independent sector can only aid efficient planning. IMHSA’s members are willing partners for the NHS both nationally and locally and we would welcome the opportunity for more collaboration with commissioners.

“IMHSA has previously highlighted the difficulties created for patient access to timely and appropriate care created by funding constraints and barriers in the commissioning system. The Commission’s report identified some of these “perverse incentives” in the system along with issues created by a lack of appropriate step-down care for patients when considering discharges from inpatient settings.

“While we welcome the Commission’s areas of focus, as IMHSA’s recent report highlighted, there are other areas, such as the moratorium on commissioning new specialised services and the continued use of unaccountable block contracts, which restrict patient choice, limit innovation and transparency and ultimately contribute to poor patient outcomes, including through delayed discharges, which must be removed.

“IMHSA hopes that the government and NHS England will take forward these recommendations and we look forward to working in partnership with them to bring about the service improvements that patients need and deserve.”


Notes to Editors:

  1. For more information, please contact Rebecca Brake at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on 0203 102 3621.
  1. IMHSA is a group of leading independent mental health service providers. IMHSA believes services for people with mental health needs must be high quality, deliver excellent health and care outcomes and enhance the patient experience. We aim to provide improved access and outcomes for people with mental health needs, in a system where they can access quality care and support in a timely manner.
  1. IMHSA’s report Breaking Down Barriers: Improving patient access and outcomes in mental healthcare was published in November 2015. It sets out eight recommendations for improving the mental health system to deliver better patient outcomes and access to care.