The experience of the individual patient can be an important driver in improving care. This paper seeks to outline the way the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland (MWCS) uses individual cases to influence policy makers and service providers.
Through visiting people, monitoring the use of mental health legislation, giving advice and conducting investigations, the MWCS has concrete examples of influencing significant change. Specific examples demonstrate how this has been achieved.
With regard to visits: findings from individual visits have resulted in action to improve services and preserve individual rights; in monitoring: services have used monitoring data to change service provision in order to comply with legislation; in investigations: high profile investigations into abuse have resulted in new protective legislation; with regard to advice: collection of advice on difficult legal/ethical/treatment dilemmas have resulted in improved practice guidance.
Individual case examples are not necessarily indicative of general populations. Many factors result in improvement. Actions by the MWCS are not necessarily the only factor.
An organisation that focuses on safeguarding individuals can use its influence to effect service improvement.
Bringing individual matters to the attention of policy makers has resulted in legislative and policy change.
Other jurisdictions may wish to consider the value of the Scottish model that is highlighted in the paper.
Lyons, D. (2012), "The Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland: individual visits and investigations can effect system change", Mental Health Review Journal, Vol. 17 No. 4, pp. 180-186. https://doi.org/10.1108/13619321211289254Download as .RIS
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