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A group of six mental health Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums have called for improvements to acute psychiatric wards following a series of visits to wards.


 The six Mental Health PPI forums (see ‘Notes to Editor' below) carried out a series of visits to their local acute psychiatric wards as part of the ‘Ward Watch' campaign. Some of the findings from the visits include:

  • limited opportunities for access to outdoor recreation for patients
  • concerns about the quality of food for patients
  • the need for improved privacy for patients including serious concern about the lack of single sex facilities (for example at Central and North West London Mental Health Trust)
  • concerns about the quality of the environment of the units including dilapidated buildings
  • insufficient interpreting and translating support for patients who do not have English as a first language
  • inadequate staffing levels


Some of the visit reports also identified some positive features, for example West London Mental Health PPI Forum commended the trust on a full programme of diverse activities tailored to suit individual needs.


Mike Loosley, Chair of the London network of Mental Health PPI Forums and a member of The South London and Maudsley PPI Forum which conducted a visit, said:


“These findings are worryingly familiar. Concerns about staffing levels, poor quality of buildings and catering, inadequate interpreting support and perhaps most worryingly the ongoing presence of mixed sex wards are all issues that service user groups, Community Health Councils and pressure groups have been campaigning on for decades. It is time for radical investment and change in acute mental health facilities.”


The network worked closely with Mind, the mental health charity, on this study.




For further details, please contact:


Kunle Thomas

Regional Communications Manager, CPPIH London region

Tel: 020 77884902

Mobile : 0783 4130 500




Notes to Editor

The ‘Ward Watch' study was embarked upon in order to find out the quality of care in acute psychiatric units, and so be able to make necessary recommendations for improvements. The six PPI Forums that participated in the coordinated visits were:

•  Central and North West London Mental Health PPI forum

•  West London Mental Health PPI forum

•  Barnet, Haringey and Enfield Mental Health PPI forum

•  South London and Maudsley PPI forum

•  South West London and St George's Mental Health PPI forum

•  North East London Mental Health PPI forum

To request a report, please contact Stephanie Jones on 020 77884900,


There are 74 independent PPI Forums in London (one forum per NHS Trust), set up by CPPIH in December 2003. There are 572 forums across England. All PPI Forums are independent of the Trusts they are partnered with.

The 11 (now 10) mental health PPI Forums in London decided on a ‘joined up' approach so as to have a stronger ‘voice' in the planning and delivery of mental health service in London. The network which held its inaugural meeting in July 2004 is supported by the Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH), London region.

PPI Forums are made up of volunteers. The forums' roles include:

finding out the views, notable experiences and concerns of their communities on local healthcare and presenting them to the NHS Trust they work with; conducting independent monitoring visits so as to assess the quality of local health services;

Looking at how wider issues in the community, such as social care, transport or housing affect local health.

CPPIH is the only independent organisation with patient and public involvement at the heart of its agenda.

Anyone interested in becoming a member of a PPI Forum in London can call CPPIH London region on 020 7788 4900. Alternatively, visit . Recruitment of forum members is continuing.


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